The largest market for Bhubaneswar-based Tara Ranjan Patnaik’s seafood export business also happens to be the country worst affected by Covid-19. The United States has seen 8.9 lakh confirmed cases and over 51,000 deaths. That has resulted in large-scale closures of restaurants, Patnaik’s biggest customers in the US. “Demand has fallen by 50% since last month. The restaurants there still have a lot of stock of seafood,” says Patnaik. What’s adding to his woes are some of his shipments of fish and shrimp lying unclaimed at ports and his payments being delayed. “Around $15-16 million is stuck.” With the easing of restrictions on some commercial activities from April 20, Patnaik has reopened one of his five processing plants across Odisha and West Bengal. He will open two more in early May but will operate them at a quarter of their capacity, one key reason for which is the lack of takers for products. “This year is ruined. We are now thinking how to minimise our losses.” Patnaik’s problems reflect the worries of Indian exporters at large. While the limitations on manufacturing are likely to be gradually lifted in the coming weeks, if the slowing growth of infections in India holds,… Read full this story
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