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April 6, 2014

Thailand

Higher Prices, Waning Disease Spark Hope

 

After fighting early mortality syndrome (EMS) for nearly two years, Thai authorities and operators are confident that its shrimp farming industry will recover in the second half of 2014; however, some small farmers may need more time to return to pre-EMS levels of production.  Rising shrimp prices are encouraging farmers to restock their ponds, said Suvit Praphakamol, vice-president of Charoen Pokphand Foods (CPF), one of Thailand’s biggest shrimp businesses.  Forty-count shrimp currently sell for $8.47 to $8.87 a kilogram, compared to $5.36 to $6.46 a kg during the same period in 2013.

 

In 2013, Thailand’s shrimp exports decreased to 187,000 metric tons worth $1.8 billion, a 42% and 34% decrease in volume and value, respectively, compared with about 308,000 tons and $2.6 billion in 2012.

 

To deal with EMS, the Thai Fisheries Department has cooperated with the private sector and come up with what it considers to be effective measures.  The “Stop EMS” program focuses on improving hatchery and nursing management.  Farmers are advised to extend the nursing period to ensure that ponds are stocked with strong, healthy postlarvae.  The Fisheries Department believes the recovery could boost shrimp production to 400,000 tons in 2014, 37% higher than 2013.  In 2014, the Thai Shrimp Association thinks exports could reach 80,000 tons, earning $2.4 billion.

 

Mr. Suvit predicts the improvement will benefit CPF’s shrimp feed business, which produces about 500,000 tons of shrimp feed a year from its four plants nationwide.  When shrimp feed sales dropped as a result of the EMS outbreak, the company took the opportunity to improve its mill in Songkhla (southern Thailand) to ensure that it had sufficient capacity to supply shrimp farms in the 13 southern provinces.  The Songkhla plant now runs at full capacity, producing 21,000 tons of shrimp feed a month and ensuring that it can maintain its 50% market share in southern Thailand.

 

Source: Bangkok Post.  Shrimp Industry on the Rebound.  April 7, 2013.

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