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The economics of sardine imports.

Date: 30-09-2016
Subject: The economics of sardine imports
KOCHI: Sardine is popular among Malayalis, whose fish consumption levels are four times compared to that of the national average. As the sardine landings came down from 3.99 lakh tonnes in 2012 to a mere 68,431 tonnes in 2015, the retail prices went up to the range of Rs 160 - Rs 200 per kg.

While the supply went down, demand was growing, which also contributed the rise in prices. According to the figures quoted study by Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI), the monthly sardine consumption of Kerala is 19,000 tonnes and the average monthly per capita consump tion is 660 gms. With the population going up, the annual demand of sardines in Kerala will go up from 2.27 lakh tonnes in 2011 to 3.26 lakh tonnes by 2020, the study says.

The demand-supply mismatch is partially being met by imports from Oman, where the local prices of sardine is as low as Rs 30 per kg.

"Kerala is a new market for us, which was opened during September - October 2015," said Mohammed Ameen, owner of Muscat-based Sea Pride LLC, which is exporting sardines to India. Till Kerala market opened, Ameen had been exporting sardines to Egypt, Bangladesh, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and a very small quantity to the US. "Kerala's consumption levels are high and hence the volume of con sumption is also high. That is the attraction of Kerala," he said over the phone. The CMFRI had spotted the products of Sea Pride being sold as fresh fish in June 2015 at Kalamukku fish landing centre.

Databases on foreign trade show that sardine is being imported to Kerala at prices ranging from Rs 28 - Rs 48 per kg during last one year period.

The FOB (free-on-board price the price at which the product is loaded on to the ship) price of sardine in Oman is US$ 450 per tonne.

On top it, there will be the logistics cost of US$ 70 - US$80 and the import duty . Considering all these components, the sardine must hit the local shores at the rate of Rs 60 per kg, with the importers bagging a profit of Rs 40 - Rs 140 per kg.

Source : timesofindia.indiatimes.com

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