INDIA PLANS TO DOUBLE MARINE EXPORTS
TO BECOME HUB OF SEA FOOD PROCESSING ACTIVITIES
Date : 04 Jul 2004
Location : New Delhi
India is planning to more than double its exports of marine products to $ 3 billion from the present level of US $ 1.2 billion by making the country a hub of seafood processing activities. This was indicated at a presentation on marine product exports to Shri Kamal Nath, Union Minister of Commerce & Industry, by M. V. P.C. Sastry, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Commerce and G. Mohan Kumar, Chairman, Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA). The Minister agreed with MPEDA on the potential of India to emerge as a hub of seafood processing and assured all steps to maximise exports from this employment generating sector.
One of the policy measures suggested by exporters is to liberalise norms in Exim Policy for standard input-output norms (SION) for undertaking job work in order to boost seafood processing activities.
India today has 388 seafood processing plants which meet international standards and as many as 140 are approved as per the European Union (EU) standards. But, many of these plants are under utilised for want of raw material. It is felt that if the policy is streamlined, more processors will be attracted to undertake job work, thereby enhancing (a) capacity utilisation; (b) creating more employment opportunities; (c) indirectly reducing pressure on fishery resources; and (d) increased foreign exchange. A major hurdle in the present policy, according to exporters, is SION where inputs and outputs for a particular product are specified. The suggestion from MPEDA is not to insist on SION but to rely on documentary evidence of incoming raw material and the production thereof.
Need for exploitation of India’s tuna resources was also stressed, as tuna is the third major fish traded internationally and the potential of oceanic tuna in the Indian EEZ (Extended Economic Zone) is 2.13 lakh tonnes.