MUMBAI, 18 January 2018 : Being a leader in shrimp farming and processing, Agriculture Times caught with Rahul Kulkarni, Director of WestCoast Group, India’s one of the biggest shrimps producer to know what is driving growth.
How is the current shrimps market in India?
The current domestic shrimps market is growing at a healthy double digit rate in the country. In the metros, the growth of Modern retail and e-commerce is helping drive the growth of shrimp sales and consumption.
The awareness of shrimp as a healthy protein alternative is catching up and is seen in the rising demand from the next generation customer base.
There is a growing interest to try new ready-to-cook, marinated products such as Garlic Butter Prawns and Prawn Skewers, which offer convenience of cooking and eating.
Do you believe the government helping the sector with feed and seeds in shrimps farming?
Yes, the government is focussed towards making quality feed and seeds available to shrimp farmers. Importantly, we have seen the state and central government bringing in policy changes to ensure there is sustainable growth.
Telangana has focused on shrimps farming, what is your take on this?
Telangana has started farming in reservoirs, which is a good sign. There is so much of untapped potential in the country for inland aquaculture and Telangana has been historically been a high in fish consumption.
The initiative taken by the state government will go on to help bring in substantial growth in the production of fresh water fish. The key is to be of having sustainable policies, to ensure that a right growth model takes shape.
As the majority of your shrimps are exported, do you support EU inspection norms?
We are always open for inspections, which helps the industry become more competitive globally. The changes in the previous EU norms have come hard on the industry and the Indian government should increase their efforts of resolving the situation.
How do you see the shrimp industry to perform in the coming years?
We see the shrimp industry to grow at 15-20% annually for the next few years, backed by strong demand globally.
The diseases affecting shrimps are an issue, how do you perceive it?
The diseases are prevalent globally and are rampant during certain seasons. The diseases could be however controlled effectively by following good aquaculture practices.
Do you support government initiatives to enhance shrimps productions export by 2020 to USD13 billion?
The government through Marine Products Exports Development Authority or MPEDA has clearly laid out plans to achieve the target and we are fully supportive of it.
What is your current shrimp production capacity?
We currently process in excess of 10,000 tonnes of shrimp annually.