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Egypt ranks 8th internationally, 1st in Africa in aquaculture

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Egypt ranked eighth internationally, and first in Africa in the field of aquaculture, according to The Ministry of Agriculture on Tuesday. 

During the Forum of Investors and Partners for Africa, organized by the World Fish Center, Egypt’s Ministry of Agriculture announced that fish is one of the most significant sources of animal protein, to which the government pays a great attention.  It was added that the country is working on developing this sector through various sources, referring that fish is the ideal solution to fill the food gap and satisfy individual animal protein needs. 

Therefore, Egypt has adopted the strategy of sustainable agricultural development 2030, which aimed at increasing the state’s production to reach nearly 2 million tons and increase the average per capital consumption from 13 kg to 18.5 kg / year.  According to all stated reasons, Egypt came eighth internationally and first in Africa in the aquaculture field, as the total fish production from different sources in Egypt reached more than 1.8 million tons, 80 percent of which come from fish farming. 

The Forum of Investors and Partners for Africa comes within the framework of working on boosting the Egyptian-African relations at various levels, especially in the field of fish production.  Also, regarding the Egyptian-African cooperation in the field of livestock, the Ministry of Agriculture said that there are many prospects for this cooperation. 

India’s shrimp exports to US set to rise after Trump’s China tariffs

fishcare banner Rand AquaIndia’s seafood products are likely to have a competitive edge in the US markets, thanks to the imposition of an additional tariff of 25 per cent on Chinese imports. “The new decision will definitely be problematic for China. Initially, they could absorb the 10 per cent duty. But the recent tariff hike will not be very pleasant,” a leading seafood exporter in Kochi told BusinessLine.

“We have a dominant position in the shrimp market in the US and this advantage can be fully exploited to garner a significant share in value-added seafood products, where China is very strong due to factors such as cost competitiveness, larger volumes, low labour cost etc,” the exporter said.

“India, at the moment, has not made any inroads in this segment, especially in ready-to-fry, ready-to-eat, heat & serve products. Right now, very few domestic companies are involved in the export of value-added seafood products. The emerging situation has given firms here an opportunity to enter the US market in a big way. But it will take time. We have the raw material to meet the demand,” he said.

Marine Products Export Development Authority (Mpeda) figures reveal that India exported 35,000 tonnes of valued-added products, worth $350 million, to the US market in FY18, registering a 40 per cent growth over the previous year. The products include prepared and preserved food, cooked shrimp, pasteurised crab etc. Overall seafood exports to the US market during the period were to the tune of $2.3 billion with frozen shrimp as the flagship item of exports.

Currently Chinese companies are sourcing headless raw material from countries such as India, Bangladesh and reprocessing it in special consumer packs before catering to the US markets. With the additional tariffs, China would lose this advantage and US buyers would prefer to buy such products from India, said Shaji Baby John, CMD, Kings Group of Companies.

They are not seasonal buyers and they need the product throughout the year. To meet the emerging opportunity, seafood processing units here should upgrade with more storage space, hygiene plants etc on par with Chinese units, he said. To take on China, the global leader in aquaculture production, India should focus more on sustainable aquaculture, embracing newer technologies for which government support is a must, he said. The global market is up for grabs for those who farmed fish in a sustainable environment, he added.

Seed stocks fall

Meanwhile, the decline in seed stocks by 20-25 per cent is likely to affect shrimp production from India in 2019. There is a likely drop of 10-15 per cent against last year’s production of over six lakh tonnes. Stocking has been sluggish due to the fear of losses in the minds of farmers on account of widespread diseases and the low market price at the time of harvest, said D Ramraj, President, All India Shrimp Hatcheries Association.

February to April is the peak stocking period for shrimp farming. Unlike in recent years, seed sales from hatcheries have been poor this year. The poor offtake and excess capacity has forced hatcheries to incur losses, he added.

Kings Group comes out with new business model for sustainable aquaculture production

India, with its vast coastline, offers tremendous scope for aquaculture.

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Renewing its focus on aquaculture, Kings Group a pioneer in the seafood export business since 1960’s has come out with a new technology driven business model, equipping farmers for a sustainable aquaculture production.  The global fears over antibiotic issues, rising clamour for traceability of food on table, overfishing of oceanic resources and consequent damage to the ecosystem and the government's stepped up efforts to stem the rot have prompted the Kochi based company to introduce new technologies.

“These indigenously developed technologies suitable to local conditions will go a long way in boosting the country’s fish production and its presence in the overseas markets for marine products,” Shaji Baby John, Chairman & Managing Director, Kings Group told Business Line.  Accordingly, the Group is in the process of launching STQC (sustainable, traceable, quality, certified) aquaculture hub models in coastal areas which assures responsibly grown, safe-to-eat fishes whole quality is certified and history could be traced back. In line with the initiative, the Group has already opened its first STQC-based hub at Chippikulam in Tuticorin by transferring necessary technologies to the farmers, kick-starting the sustainable production process.

Right from brood-stock availability, the model covers the entire gamut of seafood exports’ value chain. The technology transfer includes setting up of open cycle re-circulating aquaculture systems incorporating biological controls, aqua-mimicry, biofloc technologies and proper usage of probiotics for a disease-free multi-tropic farming practice, he added. India, with its vast coastline, offers tremendous scope for aquaculture as sea catch is dwindling due to environmental concerns. And, what is exciting is that aquaculture has the potential to develop many other species instead of sticking to the ‘shrimp-alone’ practice.

“We can cultivate quite a variety of fishes to meet market requirements based on local conditions thanks to technological strides,” Shaji said. He, however, stressed the need for an integrated management approach, encompassing both coastal and inland aquaculture. India, according to him, is utilizing only 10 per cent of its current potential. This reflects in the country’s aquaculture production estimated at 5.7 million tonnes vis-à-vis 49 million tonnes of China which continues to be global player.

Considering the declining catches from the seas, it is pointed out that 2/3rd of the world fish demand would be met from aquaculture by the year 2030. “So, there is a big space and a huge opportunity.  Kings Group had earlier floated Victory Aqua Farms Limited in 1986 for an integrated scientific aquaculture production with Japanese collaboration. The Group withdrew from the business following a Supreme Court ruling that called for the demolition of aquaculture farms in CRZ and resumed its activities later in 2007 following the bill passed by the government on coastal aquaculture.

The Group now operates aqua farms in around 100 acres in Tuticorin with aproduction of 700 tonnes a year. It also runs a shrimp hatchery in Ongole, Andhra Pradesh. It plans to bring 500 hectares under sustainable farming with the introduction of STQC Hub model.