Pre-processing, cold storage and processing
350 Out of more than 450 Indian processing establishments are EU approved. We estimate that over 200 factories along the east and west coast process cultured shrimp. Although factories were traditionally located close to fishing ports, new factories are built closer to the shrimp farming sites along the east coast and in Gujarat. Factories that are located at strategic locations are mostly owned or leased by exporters. Most processors have connections with one or more larger farms to secure their raw material demand. To find out which processors have their own farms or source, through buy back systems from small scale farms, check out our STIP supplier database
The number of pre-processing, cold storage and processing facilities is rapidly expanding in areas where shrimp farming is developing. This is especially the case in Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, West Bengal and Gujarat. The expansion of processing capacity results in an increased competition for raw materials that pushes other players out of the sector, as they are not longer able to secure supply. This competition for raw materials forces processors to engage in more long-term relationships with farmers and to invest in farms, hatcheries and feed operations.
Especially in Kerala and Gujarat traditionally wild shrimp and fish was pre-processed in separate units. These facilities were largely unregulated and many issues related to hygiene and working conditions for the labourers were identified. Although pre-processing units are still there, for cultured shrimp they don’t play an important role. The pre-processing units in Andhra Pradesh (55) and Orissa (22) are, for example, often owned and operated by the processing factories themselves. All pre-processing units are registered with the state government and some are EU approved.
An increasing number of exporters also operate cold storage facilities or hire external cold storage space in order to be able to keep stock during the peak harvesting season when factories cannot process all incoming raw materials at once. During these times processors will freeze raw materials and defrost the raw materials later for further processing. Some companies also use cold storage facilities to keep stock of finished products and to service customers during peak seasons in the market or to be able to service spot market buyers during periods when prices are good.