Global tilapia market steady

Tilapia China is facing competition for tilapia sales. Credit: Etan Tal/ Wikipedia

Volume consumption of tilapia in the US, the largest tilapia importer, is in decline with an excess of 10 KT estimated in 2017 over 2016, according to a Fact.MR study.

Declined consumption patterns mimic the broader trends in the production scenario as low prices pose challenges for companies to maintain high profitability.

In contrast, the second largest consumer, Russian Federation witnessed an increase in demand with a marginal volume consumption of 4 KT in the period of 2016-2017. The study opines that the Russian Federation tilapia market is expected to report a steady demand for tilapia through 2022 while presenting emerging opportunities for Chinese suppliers in the future.

Domestic consumption predominates the tilapia market where the loss in exports is countervailed by persistently rising demand in the domestic markets of producing countries. According to the study, Greater China, the largest producer of the tilapia will maintain its dominion with an estimated production of 1989 KT in 2017, about 28% of the global production.

While China continues to helm the production, global tilapia trade has witnessed increasing participation of other tilapia producing countries.

Competition for China

With the improvements in aquaculture practices, tilapia markets in Egypt and Indonesia are estimated to account for over 36% of the global production collectively while significantly curbing the share of the Chinese tilapia market.

Erosion of the Chinese tilapia market can also be attributed to increasing inclination of tilapia farmers for other specialty fishes such as pangasius owing to increasing demand for this low-cost fish variety.

Amidst the declining shares of China, the study reveals a persistent increase in the global tilapia production wherein top ten countries (China, Egypt, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Brazil, Mexico and Uganda) are expected to account for 90% of the global production by the end of 2028.

The report concluded that increasing demand for other fish varieties such as pangasius, growing concern regarding production loss owing to Tilapia Lake Virus (TiLV) infection and lower appetite for tilapia in the potential market like EU28 are few of the prime factors that are likely to challenge the future sustainability of the tilapia market.

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