New Delhi: The government has reduced import duty on a number of raw materials such as fish lipid oil, krill meal and algal prime used in the marine sector, to promote domestic production and exports from the segment.
The duty on fish lipid oil and algal prime (flour), used in manufacture of aquatic feed, has been reduced to 15 per cent from 30 per cent.
Similarly, the duty on fish meal and krill meal, used in making aquatic feed, was cut to 5 per cent from 15 per cent in the Budget, presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman February 1.
The levy on mineral and vitamin premixes, which are also used in the feed, has been reduced to 5 per cent from 15 per cent earlier, according to Budget documents.
The basic customs duty on fish feed too has been reduced to 5 per cent from 15 per cent with a view to promoting local production of shrimps.
Fish meal is high in protein and a good source of calcium, phosphorus, and other minerals. It is used extensively by the marine industry.
Imports of fish lipid oil stood at $7.13 million during April-November 2022. It was about $14 billion in 2021-22. It is mainly imported from China, Japan, and the US. Imports of algal prime (flour) was $0.91 million during the eight-month period. It was about $4.5 billion in 2021-22. It is mainly imported from Brazil, Thailand and Malaysia.
Imports of fish and krill meal stood at $7.68 million during April-November 2022. It was $19.6 billion in 2021-22. It is mainly imported from Norway, Gambia and the UAE.
Imports of mineral and vitamin premixes were $207.75 million during April-November 2022. It was $305.12 billion in 2021-22. It is mainly imported from China, Belgium, Greece, the Netherland, Singapore and Thailand.
The finance minister also announced launch of sub-scheme of PM Matsya Sampada Yojana with a targeted investment of Rs 6,000 crore to further enable activities of fishermen, fish vendors, and micro and small enterprises, improve value-chain efficiencies, and expand the market.
Exports of marine products rose 30.26 per cent to $7.76 billion during 2021-22. Frozen shrimp remained the major export item in terms of quantity and value. The segment accounts for 75.11 per cent of the total dollar earnings.
The US is the largest market of frozen shrimp, followed by China, the European Union, South East Asia, Japan, and the Middle East. Frozen fish, frozen squid and frozen cuttlefish, are also major items for exports.
Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) Director General Ajay Sahai said the reduction in duty will boost marine exports as cost of production is expected to come down by 5 per cent, providing competitive edge.
Yogesh Gupta, Regional Chairman, FIEO – Eastern Region, said although “we are facing a strong headwind due to Ecuador shrimp growth, reduction in duty on fish feed will support the farmers in a big way, and we may see some greater production of shrimps, leading to higher volumes”.
“This is a good move, but for larger exports, interest equalisation rate must be brought up to 5 per cent,” he added.
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