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India aims to expand seafood exports to $12 billion in two years

India wants to increase its seafood exports from $8 billion to $12 billion in the next two years, mostly by targeting upscale markets like the US and Europe, according to two government officials on Wednesday.

An official from India's commerce ministry informed a select group of reporters that the country's seafood exports to the US will reach $2.6 billion in 2022/23, doubling in eight years, making India the leading exporter of frozen shrimps to the US.

Statistics from the ministry of commerce show that in 2022–23, the total value of frozen shrimp exported was more than $5.6 billion.

"The government intends to focus on value addition and supply to high-end markets while creating awareness about good labour and environment practices among exporters," according to officials.

Although worldwide demand may be poor this fiscal year, the second official did mention that shrimp farming has become a huge opportunity for roughly 200,000 workers, mostly women, in the southern regions of Andhra Pradesh.

Due to a lack of authorization to speak to the media, both officials chose not to be named in the lead-up to the general election that starts this month.

Frozen shrimp farmed in rural ponds in India have found new buyers in China, the EU, Southeast Asia, Japan, and even the Middle East. Frozen fish, octopus, and cuttlefish are among the other seafood items that are selling well abroad.

Corporate Accountability lab, a human rights legal group located in Chicago, published a report detailing the exploitative labor practices of certain shrimp exporters. In response, officials from both nations denied the charges, calling them "baseless" and suggesting that they may have been motivated by trade rivalry with other countries and the U.S. industry.

According to the first source, representatives from the commerce ministry will meet with seafood exporters and discuss the matter with the state government in order to guarantee that all export houses satisfy the demands of buyers and consumers abroad.

A third-party evaluation of working conditions might be considered by the government to allay buyer fears, he added.

Shrimp exporters in India are meeting the demands of buying nations like the United States by adhering to food safety and quality standards, according to the top exporter association, the Federation of Indian Export Organisation (FIEO).

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