21 March, 2018
Durai Balasubramanian, secretary of the Pattukottai Shrimp Farmers Association in Tamil Nadu claimed that there is a strong support among India’s shrimp farmers, to support price differences among different states for shrimps to protect shrimp industry.
“It’s time for all farmers to get united,farmers are the entire backbone of the aquaculture industry, feed companies, exporters, chemical manufacturers all depend on farmers”,said Balasubramanian.
He suggested there should be a minimum “support price” for shrimp, just like in Thailand, to protect the shrimp industry and make it sustainable. It’s time for farmers to meet with an exporter’s consortium and sort this issue. He told Undercurrent News that at present there is price disparity, using Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh as an example.
Currently in Tamil Nadu farmers are being quoted INR 450 per kilogram for 30 count shrimp, INR 350 for 36/40, INR 320 for 46/50, and INR 300 for 53/60, he said. Meanwhile, in East Godavari, Andhra Pradesh, prices are at INR 410 for 28/30 count, INR 310 for 36/40, INR 280 for 46/50, and INR 270 for 60 counts. Even across the same state, in West Godavari, there are discrepancies 50 counts are going for INR 290, and 60 is INR 280.
“All rates are diverse, and Andhra Pradesh’s price is very poor,” he said, laying the blame at the door of exporters.
“At the recently concluded aqua expo India International Seafood Show I met different farming heads from states, and all were willing to merge all the unions, to make it more able to reach the government,” said Balasubramanian.
If the prices noted above for Andhra Pradesh remain then many farmers will begin to incur losses, he said.
Packers’ buying patterns have also changed recently, he said. “I have been hearing reports no processor is willing to buy 30 count materials. There are so many constraints; the only solution we have been thinking of is to get all farmers together from different unions.”
In February Undercurrent reported that demand for larger shrimp was low, with the US not yet in the market. Instead, smaller sizes had received a boost from Chinese interest.
The idea of a minimum “support price” for farmers is not new it was proposed to Undercurrent on a visit to Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh, in December 2015.
G. Pawan Kumar, managing director of Sprint Exports’ seafood division, told Undercurrent, “In the last year or so we have worked to bring our customers, the buyers, on board with understanding how supply works with regard to their contracts. The next step is to do the same with the farmers; Stability of supply is needed we want to set up a position where farmers are guaranteed a minimum price, so that they know how much shrimp they need to stock, and that they will not lose money when they do.