By James Mathew
White shrimps account for 56 percent of India's marine products exports to UAE, and the larger Middle East market
Restaurant diners across the UAE are back in numbers enjoying one of their favourite Indian dishes – the white shrimp - much to the relief of Indian exporters.
India’s export of frozen shrimp – also known as Vannamei shrimp – to the UAE has seen a substantial increase in the last two months, after being down by about 40 percent in the April-May lockdown period.
“In value terms, shipments of white shrimps to the UAE is down by only about 20 percent now compared to the pre-Covid months, and we are seeing a substantial increase in both buying orders and enquiries from that region,” K S Srinivas, chairman, Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA), told Arabian Business.
White shrimps account for 56 percent of India’s marine products exports to UAE.
“We are hopeful of even exceeding the pre-Covid export levels in the next few months,” Srinivas said.
Though white shrimps are produced by many other countries in Southeast Asia and South America, Indian farm-bred white shrimps are said to be the most popular.
The Middle East is India’s 5th largest export market for marine products, amounting to about $300 million in FY20.
Srinivas said the export authority has initiated several measures to increase export of value added marine products in order to step up exports, mainly to the Middle East market.
“Countries like UAE prefer ‘ready-to-cook’ and ‘ready-to-eat’ products and India is currently in the process of setting up more and more processing centres for producing value added marine products so that we can export more to UAE and other countries in the region,” Srinivas said.
Lack of enough wide-bodied cargo aircraft, which can carry large quantities of both fresh and frozen products, is another problem being faced by Indian marine exporters.
“We have taken up this issue with the (Indian) civil aviation ministry and we are hopeful that steps will be taken to address this problem,” Srinivas said.
Indian private carriers such as SpiceJet have of late been focusing on expanding its cargo business and currently have 9 freighter aircraft consisting of 5 Boeing 737s, 3 Bombardier Q-400s and one Airbus A340.