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MPEDA Comes Up With a New Scheme to Certify Shrimp Farms

MPEDA to certify shrimp farms in India

Shipra Singh

Frozen shrimp produce is the largest seafood export item of India. And now MPEDA  - Marine Products Exports Development Authority - has come up with a certification scheme known as "Shaphari" to certify farms and hatcheries that feature superior aquaculture practices.  

Shaphari is a Sanskrit word that means superior quality fishery products fit for human consumption.  

In 2019-20, India exported frozen shrimp at a value of $5 billion. China and the US were the biggest buyers. However, a combination of factors adversely affected exports in the last few months. These included shortages of containers and rejection of consignments due to safety concerns.  

According to an official of the Commerce Ministry, "We have seen some recent consignments sourced from Indian shrimp farms being rejected due to the presence of antibiotic residue and this is a matter of concern for exporters." 

The official further added, "We already have a National Control Residue Control Programme for food safety issues for farm produce and pre-harvest testing system in place, but this certification was proposed as a market-based tool  for hatcheries to adopt good aquaculture practices and help produce quality antibiotic-free shrimp products to assure global consumers." 

Being the largest seafood item in exports in the country, frozen shrimp constituted 50.58% in volume and 73.2% in total US dollar earnings in 2019-20. The major shrimp producing states of India are Gujarat, Odisha, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu. About 95% of cultured shrimp produce is exported from India.  

The Ministry official informed that the benefit of certification will be that exporters can export their consignments confidently to markets having strict food safety regulation without the fear of rejection.  

About Shaphair scheme 

The shaphair scheme is based on technical guidelines on aquaculture certification provided by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization. The scheme will feature two components: 

  • Certifying hatcheries for their seed quality

  • Approving shrimp farms that carry out good aquaculture practices. 

Benefit for farmers 

The certification scheme will help farmers identify good hatcheries that can offer high seed quality. 

Shrimps farms that clear multiple operation audits successfully will be awarded the certificate for a duration of two years.  

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