Aereal view of Japanese Tsunami at Sendai city. (Photo: YouTube,manataka/FIS)
Japan's tsunami to harm Indian exports
Thursday, March 17, 2011, 00:50 (GMT + 9)
Last week’s tsunami catastrophe in Japan is expected to harm India’s USD 2 billion-seafood export industry. The heavily damaged Japanese North-Eastern city of Sendai was brimming with seafood factories and processing units directly connected to Indian exporters, explained Anwar Hashim, president of the Seafood Exporters Association of India (SEAI).
Although seafood exports to Sendai have suffered, Hashim said that exports to destinations including Tokyo and Osaka could recuperate sooner. All trade and commerce with Japan could temporarily cease.
Indian shrimp farmers off the coast of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Orissa and West Bengal would be affected the worst, as their black tiger shrimps have mostly been sold to Japan buyers. India’s frozen large de-veined black tiger shrimps are fetch good prices for Indian farmers and exporters and are considered a delicacy in Japanese markets.
During the April-to-December period of the current fiscal year, seafood exports to Japan were valued at INR 13.58 billion (USD 294.9 million). Japan is a major buyer of seafood products such as shrimp, cuttle fish and squid, reports the Economic Times.
"We were planning to shift our attention from the European Union (EU) to the Japanese market," said an industry spokesperson.
India is already suffering from a recession in Europe - the country’s main seafood customer – as well as appreciation in the value of the rupee against the euro and the economic crisis in Greece, Spain and Portugal. At the same time, according to export figures for April-December 2010, Europe might still have been able to retain the top slot, making up 26.14 per cent of the total seafood export realisation, reports The Hindu.
After the US, Japan was the third most important export destination, accounting for 15.12 per cent of the India’s total seafood exports in value. Frozen shrimp remains the principal export item at 48.61 per cent of the total foreign exchange earnings.
Shrimp exports translate into high returns and unit value realisation from these exports has also been booming. In the first nine months of the current fiscal year, unit value realisation from shrimp exports has jumped by more than 25 per cent.
While India’s seafood exports to Japan in 2011 might not receive an immediate impact, 2012 could be bleak, SEAI said, noting that exports to Japan could take two to three months to bounce back.
Europe accounts for 26 per cent of India’s total seafood exports, while the US covers 17 per cent and Japan 20 per cent, reports Press Trust of India.
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By Natalia Real