The imports of broodstock is managed by the Coastal Aquaculture Authority (CAA) in India. Since the 11th
April 2016, the CAA allows to import from only seven hatcheries: five in the United States, one in Mexico and one in Indonesia. Recently several other licenses from hatcheries in the United States, Thailand and Singapore have been withdrawn.
When broodstock is imported, they are kept in quarantine centres in Chennai or Vizag for at least five days. However, there are reports that broodstock stays there up to one month. This has a detrimental effect on the mortality rate of the broodstock. Various exporters indicate that sometimes the facilities are not well managed and that there is a shortage of capacity compared to the demand for broodstock from hatcheries.
To enable the shrimp farming sector to further expand, the CAA allows since 2012 the import of juveniles of Litopenaeus vannamei (whiteleg shrimp) up to 10 grams to raise them as future broodstock. The nauplii (larvae) can subsequently be sold to the CAA approved L. vannamei hatcheries. The CAA has also put increased efforts into dealing with unauthorized seed production through confiscation and destruction of unauthorized stocks by CAA inspection teams.
Based on data from 2016 there were 259 hatcheries with a capacity of 24 billion PL. Hatchery business in India is dominated by a few groups such as BMR and CP which own more than one hatchery and distribute through dealers. However, the real number would be much higher if illegal hatcheries were included.
The approved hatcheries are concentrated in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu where the water quality is most favourable. Although several attempts are made to build hatcheries in other states as well, only few have been successful. As a result, farmers in other areas are largely depending on imported PL from Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu and are confronted with higher prices due to mortalities during transport. Farmers in other states often have less control over the quality as distributors are not always transparent about the source of the PL and tend to mix PL from various sources before distribution.
India has about 25 aqua-feed companies. Total production of shrimp feed was estimated to be 2.2 to 2.3 MT in 2018, while shrimp feed requirement was around 1.1 MT (Undercurrent News, 2018). As a result of the continuing growth of the shrimp production and the government’s target to produce 1 million MT of shrimp by 2020, the shrimp feed industry is expanding their capacity as demand for high quality shrimp feed is increasing. About 80% of the Indian shrimp feed industry is dominated by large industry players like CP India (part of CP Foods Thailand) and Avanti Feeds (25% owned by Thai Union), the latter building its second 175,000 tonnes capacity feed mill (Undercurrent News, 2018).
Other players in the shrimp feed industry are companies like Cargill, which just finished building feed mill that is able to produce an output of 90,000 tonnes. Also, two of India’s largest shrimp exporters, Devi Seafoods from Andhra Pradesh and Falcon Marine
from Orissa, are constructing their own feed plants with respective 50,000 to 60,000 tonnes capacity; For Devi this is their third plant. Having their own feed mills enables the two shrimp exporters to set up a distribution system to their own and contracted farms. With feed mills added to their fully integrated business set-ups from hatcheries to processing establishments, both Falcon Marine
and Devi Seafoods are able to secure supply of raw material to their factories. BMR Group, who received BAP-four star certification due to the control they have over their production chain, is also building its second 70,000 tonnes capacity plant. BAP-four star certification is increasingly demanded by the United States’ supermarkets which are their main business partners.
Other market players include Godrej Agrovet, Growel Feeds, The Waterbase, Grobest Feeds and Nexus Feeds. Besides the shrimp feeds for grow-out, also the more specialized hatchery feed business is expanding. Multinationals such as Zeigler Feeds (United States), INVE (Belgium), Biomar (Denmark) and Nutreco (Netherlands) sell hatchery feeds in India, which was reported by Shrimp News International in June 2015.
There are hundreds of companies involved in the distribution of inputs for shrimp farming, and their size and character vary widely. Although large farmers may purchase directly from feed mills and hatcheries, small farms depend on local distributors and dealers. The network of input distributors in India is large and diverse. Input distributors can be feed companies and hatcheries, agents and local distributors contracted by hatcheries and feed mills, but also processors who offer farmers a one stop shop for high quality inputs, water quality testing, technical support, credit facilities and other services. (see e.g. IFB Agro and the West Coast Group).
In general, the distribution of inputs is increasingly getting more vertically integrated. This is mainly because exporters supply inputs on a credit basis to farmers and by doing so, secure supply to their factories. It is also done to prevent issues related to antibiotics. Although high quality drugs are available, in local markets farmers can often also obtain cheaper products. The use of these products can result in problems related to the use of prohibited antibiotics and other chemicals, which can be detected at border inspection when the final products are exported abroad.
Distributors and farmers at locations far away from the hatcheries, increasingly use commercial nurseries or nursery ponds at the shrimp farms to let the PL acclimatize after transport. It is believed that using nursery ponds can drastically improve the survival rates of the shrimp. However, some farmers argue that they have higher mortality rates because PL need to adopt a second time to different water conditions.