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Shrimp production in Odisha hit by cyclone Fani

According to some estimates, the production could slump 60-70%.

, ET Bureau|
May 17, 2019, 12.46 PM IST
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Sluggish stocking in farms, owing to low prices and fear of recurrence of diseases, has already extended the shrimp harvest by one month to June.
Kochi:Cyclone Fani, which hit Odisha recently, may aggravate the distress in India’s seafood sector by causing a production slump. The cyclone affected farms in several coastal regions in the state and, more worryingly, led to power failure in Bhubaneswar where most of the seafood processing units are located.

“We haven’t yet assessed the total loss in the seafood sector in the state. But roughly it could run to Rs 300-400 crore,’’ said Ramesh Mahapatra, chairman of Magnum Sea Foods.

Aquaculture shrimp production in Odisha has risen over the past few years to around 30,000 tonnes a year, making the state the fifth largest producer after Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat.

“Production has been hit because of lack of power supply for over ten days now. We are just running the cold storages on generators to avoid total loss,’’ said RN Padhi, director of Seagold Overseas, another seafood exporter based in Bhubaneswar. He said production could slump 60-70%.

According to Mahapatra, the cyclone wreaked havoc in the farms of Puri, Khorda, Jagatsinghpur and Kendrapara. However, Balasore and Bhadrak, where majority of the farms are situated, the impact has been less severe.

Power is gradually getting restored to most of the districts affected by the cyclone. “It may be difficult to make up for the production loss in the coming months,’’ said Mahapatra.

Sluggish stocking in farms, owing to low prices and fear of recurrence of diseases, has already extended the shrimp harvest by one month to June. Many farms have resorted to 30-40% stocking of young shrimps for growth and harvest, in line with the general trend in most of the shrimp aquaculture production states.

The cyclone has cast another shadow over production at a time when farmers are distressed over low prices. Exporters may be hard put to pay better prices to farmers now because of output loss. “Our production cost has also gone up,’’ said Padhi.

India’s total shrimp production in 2017-18 was 691,000 tonnes, of which 90% was of Vannamei variety. The final output data for 2018-19 has yet to come out.
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