Aqua farmers, who were suffering due to poor exports in the international market for the last few days, may suffer about ₹25,000 crore loss during the ongoing crisis in aquaculture. Andhra Pradesh, which stood top in shrimp production for over a decade, shipped more than 10 lakh tonnes of seafood, worth about ₹55,000 crore recently. Aquaculture is being taken up in about two lakh hectares in coastal districts and more than 10 lakh families are directly and indirectly depend on the sector. The farmers and other stakeholders were worried over poor exports and fall in prices in the international market.

“In our company, more than 500 tonnes of produce will be processed every day. We are creating employment for more than 200 workers a day in the factory. As the shrimp exports were stopped to major consumers and drop in prices, work was stalled and many small and medium units are on the verge of closure,” said the manager of a seafood export firm of Krishna district. Aqua farmers said that many exporters, who procured stocks, have not paid the amount and the producers are not in a position to take up the next crop due to losses.

“I invested huge amount in raising shrimp tanks, and sold away the stocks to an export company at Repalle. But, the exporter is not paying the amount citing poor exports,” said a farmer Vara Prasad of Machilipatnam. “We cannot store shrimp, which is a perishable product, and lakhs of farmers sold away the stocks to the export companies. Citing poor market facilities and fall in prices in the international market, the mediators and exporters are not paying money to the farmers,” Mr. Vara Prasad said, who lodged a complaint with the Krishna Superintendent of Police (SP) during Spandana programme.

During a meeting held at Bhimavaram, aqua farmers urged the government to intervene and ensure that they get good price. “Many farmers are forcibly selling away their produce at lesser price due to crisis in aquaculture. We request the Central government to hold talks with the importers of other countries and save aquaculture in the State,” said another farmer J. Srinivas of Kaikalur. Meanwhile, Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) Chairman D. Venkata Swamy and other officials will hold a meeting with the exporters in Visakhapatnam on Tuesday. Mr. Venkata Swamy, during his maiden visit to the State, likely to discuss the crisis and other issues with the exporters and farmers. More than 150 seafood export companies were there in West Godavari, Eluru, Krishna, Nellore, Visakhapatnam, Nellore and other districts in Andhra Pradesh.