Philippines, India looks at enormous fishery trade opportunity starting with Philippines’ potential investment in tuna processing facilities in India

May 27. 2021

The Philippines and India are looking at enormous opportunity for trade cooperation on marine fishery and aquaculture starting off with Philippines’ potential investments in putting up tuna processing facilities in India or importing its needed tuna raw materials from India.

   India’s fishery industry players led by Indian Ambassador to the PHilippines Shambhu S. Kumaran have invited members of the Philippine Chamber of Agriculture and Fisheries Inc. (PCAFI) led by Chairman Philip L. Ong, also aquaculture feeds maker Santeh Feeds chairman, to look at investment and technology exchange in fisheries. 

   “It will be the start of a long process of linking to raise productivity.  We invite you to look at business opportunities in India,” said Kumaran during the India Philippines Marine Fisheries & Aquaculture virtual business conference.

PCAFI Chairman Philip L. Ong optimistic of investments, technology exchange in marine fisheries and aquaculture between India and Philippines

   Cherian Kurian, managing director of India’s M/s HIC ABF Special Foods, there is a huge opportunity for tuna value addition in India as it produces largely tuna ready for canning.  This is where Philippines’ global leadership in tuna processing and canning comes in. Tuna is one of the Philippines’ largest seafood export with a yearly value of $350-$400 million.

   Frabelle Fishing Corp President Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr. said tuna fishing in India is also a potential opportunity for local fish producers.

   “Tuna fleet is willing to expand when they’re woelcome to fish,” said Laurel.

   Local tuna processors-canners can put up canning facilities in India. 

   However,   Francisco Buencamino, Tuna Canners Assn of the Philippines executive director, said it may be advantageous rather to import India’s raw tuna production and process these locally.  This is because the Philippines has preferential duty privileges to the European Union in tuna export.

   Kurian said India’s oceanic tuna resource potential within its exclusive economic zone reaches to 2.13 million metric tons (MT) with yellowfin taking up 54% and skipjack 40% of total.   Kurian said India can start exporting tuna to the Philippines in bigger volume. This way, the Philippines can maximize its processing-canning capabilities.

   Another area of cooperation is shrimp as India may extend technology and research and development (R&D) to Philippines which suffers from difficulty handling shrimp diseases.

   India is the world’s largest shrimp producer and exporter particularly the vannamei species. It exports 90% of shrimp production, exporting almost 50% to the United STates.   Still, there is 9.7 million hectares of potential shrimp area in India.  Of this, 8.5 million hectares are waterlogged saline areas and 1.2 million hectares of brackishwater.

   Miguel Rene A. Dominguez, Alsons Agribusiness Unit vice president, said there is an opportunity to raise productivity in shrimp and mangrove crab production in the Philippines. India’s technology expertise in these technologies may potentially help raise Philippines’ shrimp and mangrove crab production.  End

   For the Philippines’s hatchery, there is a huge opportunity in Finfish, shrimp and crab.    “The Philippines has a rich reservoir of resources both physical and know-how for aquaculture development.” (Melody Mendoza Aguiba)

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