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Shrimp industry to get face lift

Thailand’s Fisheries Department will focus on managing shrimp exports during 2012, as they plan to complete the second strategic plan for the shrimp industry, which is set to be submitted for cabinet approval.

Some of the essential elements of the plan include upgrading shrimp farm standards to meet new global regulations, creating new potential farm sites for broodstock breeding, strengthening post-harvest management for added-value shrimp products as well as generally improving market potential throughout.

The plan also views research and development with great importance, such that it now includes laying out network cooperation for research and development within the industry.

The strategy relies on letting Thai prawns drive the national economy through their production standards, whilst remaining both sustainable and environmentally responsible. The slogan proposed to temporarily and proactively expand the national shrimp industry from 2010-2013, is likely to be “marketing to lead production,” reports MCOT online news.

Somying Piumsombun, director-general of the department, explained how this plan expands on the success of the first one, which focused on endorsing the shrimp industry on all levels, from aquaculture to processing and exports, to guarantee satisfactory product quality.

“The second plan will be a follow-up, with more strategies promoting clean farming techniques and high-quality shrimp products for export,” she said, reports the Bangkok Post.

Somying informed that the plan passed public hearings in 2009 and would thus be submitted for cabinet approval in the near future.

The cabinet will be deciding whether to approve both the plan and a budget worth THB 828 million (USD 26.4 million) for 20 projects through 2013 that are meant to fortify the shrimp industry.

Compared with the value of shrimp exports, estimated at a generous THB 269 billion (USD 8.6 billion) from 2010-12, the aforementioned budget is relatively small.

During this period, Thailand aims to produce 500,000-550,000 tonnes of shrimp, mostly vannamei or white shrimp. With as much as 90 per cent of the shrimp being exported.

The new plan also includes enlarging the proportion of black tiger prawns and freshwater shrimp to decrease potential risks intrinsic on to much dependency on white shrimp, for example, diminishing prices and possible disease outbreaks.

Moreover, greater R&D will allow for the certification of additional farms that will produce shrimp free of pesticides and chemicals, for instance, which could be aimed at niche markets.

Source: fis

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