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Dip in prices, exports put fish farmers in dilemma

Vijayawada: Though there has been no decline in the production of fish in Andhra Pradesh, its export to other states, particularly to North and North Eastern states is witnessing a slowdown due to fluctuating prices. Closure of markets in the north, particularly in Delhi, has affected the price of the fish from the state.

Rohu and Catla make the majority of the fish exported to Northern states with the Pangasia variety coming last. Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, where the demand for the fish from the state is more, have imposed restrictions on movement of people and Delhi is under lockdown.

“During the Covid first wave last year, the Covid-imposed lockdown has disrupted the supply chain, despite the state’s emergency measures of taking up transportation of perishable goods. As the markets in almost all states were closed, fish farmers in the state had suffered losses.

Today no such situation is there as there is no lockdown, but the limited accessibility to markets in the North, particularly Delhi, Asia’s largest market, the prices of the fish are getting affected,” Nagi Reddy, a fish farmer in Krishna district said.

Another fish producer from neighbouring West Godavari district said prices of Pangasia, which is the preferred variety of those in Delhi and Punjab, is witnessing a drop. “Several farmers are yet to harvest in large scale fearing that Covid situation may deteriorate,” he said.

A senior official in the Fisheries department said there has been no reports of any drop in fish exports. “Compared to previous years, there is a drop in the quantum of the exports.

It could be mainly attributed to the increase in the local consumption. However, the prices might get affected this week due to closure of markets in some Northern states,” he explained. Farmers are now worried about possible shortage of workers in the days to come, with worsening Covid situation in the state. They are now in a dilemma as to what to do to avert the possible losses.