China is emerging as the growing market for seafood export from India in comparison to European countries. Indian seafood exporters are looking to China for better and prompt payment as well as increased volumes of sales. Rustom Irani, who represents and heads the state of Maharashtra in the Seafood Exporters Association of India (SEAI), said that the payments from Chinese parties are very good vis-à-vis European countries, which are on a weak footing, and are struggling with payments.
According to Irani the general trend is that China is getting very aggressive in terms of volume as well as value. He added that in olden days China was a destination of low value fish, but now they seem to have an appetite for high value fish. This view is echoed by Narendra Bhaskar Patil, partner at Sonia Fisheries and Marine Exports, a Mumbai-based frozen seafood company whose main market is China.
Patil said that China edged out Europe as the dominant market for the company in the last 10 to 15 year. China is paying much better prices than European countries in the last two years. Patil said that the seafood business with China looks set to become more profitable for Indian suppliers, it is offset by the gray clouds of economic uncertainty that hangs over Europe.
European seafood market is getting worst with lots of paper work increases day by day and the exporters are getting frustrated. Patil said that the Chinese do not have a fussy approach to seafood trade — they are very practical. Overall, it has been a good year for seafood trade in India. Irani informed that with the floods in Thailand, demand for Indian seafood is at a high, but our seafood landings are unusually miserable, putting an upward pressure on prices.