Exploring Seafood Industry's Challenges And Opportunities
1 month ago
Seafood & Poultry
Seafood & Poultry

Exploring Seafood Industry's Challenges And Opportunities

The global seafood market faces uncertainty due to falling prices and weak demand. Excess stock and low shrimp prices have affected India and other shrimp-producing countries. Diversification & technology partnerships by ICAR aim to reach $14B in seafood exports in India by 2025.

The Indian Seafood industry, known for its significant contributions to the country’s economy, experienced a mixed bag of outcomes in the fiscal year 2023. Despite achieving a record-breaking export, concerns loom over the industry’s prospects due to several factors such as global market dynamics, fluctuating demand, and internal challenges. Let’s delve into the key factors affecting the industry and explore the potential market outlook.

Global Challenges: Falling Prices & Tepid Demand

The global Seafood market has been hit by falling prices and tepid demand, causing ripples of uncertainty across major Seafood-producing nations. The Shrimp segment has suffered due to excess stock and a downward spiral in prices. Here are the details:

1.    India: While India recorded a rise in total Seafood export volume, the marginal Shrimp exports decline and a dip in its value have raised alarms. This trend is not unique to India; major Shrimp-producing countries like Ecuador are grappling with similar challenges. With the US market overstocked and China’s demand subdued, the prices are struggling to improve.

2.     Bangladesh: Bangladesh’s Black Tiger Shrimp exports faced a decline in Western markets, prompting the exploration of Vannamei production to capture the market’s demand for cheaper Shrimp varieties.

3.    US: The US, being a major Seafood consumer, saw a steep decline in Shrimp imports. Imports fell by almost 20% in June 2023 compared to June 2022. Ecuador, India’s main competitor, managed to capitalize on this situation by increasing its exports to the US, as India faced challenges in sustaining its volumes highlighting the competitiveness of the industry.

Shimmer Of Hope

Amid the challenging scenario, a glimmer of hope emerged for India’s Seafood sector. Indigenous Black Tiger Prawns export witnessed a demand surge, particularly from Japan. This shift provided relief, countering the decline in Vannamei Shrimp shipments. Its exports saw a significant 74% year-on-year increase. This shift is encouraging more Indian farmers to invest in Tiger Prawn cultivation, diversifying the product portfolio. Moreover, the diversification of exportable cultured species like Mud Crabs, Seabass, Tilapia, and Pangasius, offered a promising avenue for growth.

Diversification & Technological Innovation

To navigate the evolving landscape, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has taken a significant step by engaging in public-private partnerships for research and technology transfer. This move could lead to the diversification of aquaculture technologies and the development of new species for export.

Involving businesses in technology development could accelerate the transition from experimental stages to commercial production. To attain its goal of $14 billion in Seafood exports by 2025, India must also leverage its strengths in quality control and disease management.

Market Outlook

Despite the current challenges, there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon for the Indian Seafood industry. Normalized weather patterns and recovering demand from China and the restoration of supply chains are expected to boost production and revenue. Moreover, the reputation of Indian Shrimp for quality and disease control could give it an edge over competitors like Ecuador.

Other Shrimp-producing countries like Vietnam are also facing challenges and opportunities. Vietnam’s Shrimp exports to major markets such as the US and China have experienced fluctuations, but there are signs of recovery. This underscores the complex interplay of global demand, supply, and economic recovery.

OFB’s Insight

The global Seafood industry is navigating through a complex web of challenges, ranging from price fluctuations and demand shifts to climate impacts and market-specific issues. While the Indian Seafood sector faced setbacks, there’s an optimistic outlook driven by strategies like diversification, technology adoption, and targeted market growth.

The industry’s ability to adapt to changing circumstances and capitalize on emerging opportunities will determine its trajectory in the dynamic world of international Seafood trade. As global economies recover, the potential for growth remains, and strategic steps taken now could position the industry for a prosperous future.

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