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March 25, 2014

Thailand

Daniel Gruenberg on Shrimp Prices

 

Early mortality syndrome (EMS) has caused a huge increase in shrimp prices, not only in Thailand, but globally as well.  Earlier in the epidemic, it was the processors that really took the brunt of the drop in prices because farmers were still able to breakeven, or make a small profit, even when confronted with high mortalities because the shrimp that did happen to make it to five or ten grams fetched record prices.

 

Now the epidemic is reaching a new, and in my opinion, more difficult phase.  Customers of Thai packers are resisting the astronomical prices, so processors are now sourcing raw materials internationally, which has allowed them some bargaining power, while the price the farmer gets has dropped over 15%, from $7.39 for 100 count per kilogram animals to $6.16 a kilogram.

 

Now the farmers are not willing to risk stocking their ponds because their chances for a profit or even breaking are getting slimmer by the day.

 

Just testing the PLs for EMS is not going to be sufficient to prevent the disease because less-resistant specific pathogen free lines of shrimp are used throughout Thailand today.

 

So I tend to strongly disagree with all the rosy news you hear about a great year for Thailand.

 

The record high prices that have allowed farmers to squeak by have now disappeared and that seems to be taking the foundation out from under the purported recovery.  I fear things are going to get much worse before they get better.

 

Source: The Shrimp List (a mailing list for shrimp farmers).  EMS Epidemic Reaches a New, Difficult Phase.  March 21, 2014.

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