February 18, 2015


Thai, Vietnamese shrimp traders drawn to India's low prices



Thai and Vietnamese raw shrimp traders are reportedly turning to India for low-priced supplies as both countries still grapple with the early mortality syndrome (EMS) disease that has affected their shrimp farms.


Last year Thailand produced only 200,000 metric tonnes, much lower than as much as 650,000 before it was affected by the EMS epidemic. This year production is expected to reach a modest 230,000 tonnes, still due to EMS.


Thai shrimps are currently priced high as it is off season, making importing a logical option.


In Thailand, however, importing shrimp is harder than in Vietnam as it involves a lengthy inspection process, thus discouraging many would-be importers.


Some importers have also brought out quality issues affecting Indian shrimps.  A spokeswoman of a major packer, the Thai Union Frozen Products, was reported as saying they didn't have any plan of buying from India this year.


"We had done this at the beginning of the crisis. We decided that the domestic procurement is more efficient in terms of lead time and certainty on the raw material quality," she said.


Still, Vietnamese traders have been buying raw materials from India for reprocessing.


For 70-count, head-on shrimp, the current price level in India is INR280/kg ($4.49/kg) compared with Thailand's THB202/kg (US$6.19) for the same size.


India said early in December last year that it was on track to achieving its target of exporting US$6 billion worth of marine products in 2014, much of it resulting from a high demand in the US and the persistent shortage of farmed shrimp in Southeast Asian countries.

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