July 2, 2008


Thailand shrimp sector completes energy cost cut project

The Thai shrimp sector has completed an energy cost cut pilot project developed by Thailand's Alternative Energy Development and Efficiency Department and the German Technical Co-operation (GTZ).


The pilot project is completed and GTZ concluded that the project showed the potential and possible measures of energy reduction in shrimp farms, including the change of motor drives and lesser use of aerators.


Rising fuel prices have increased the energy costs of shrimp farming to about THB 13 billion (US$389.2 million) per year but the programme - Energy and Eco-Efficiency in Agro-Industry Project (E3Agro) - seeks to alleviate the problem, with GTZ aiming to cut the cost by THB 5 billion (US$150 million).


GTZ selected 13 shrimp farms for the pilot project, advising farmers to install equipment the agency designed such as aeration system and a water-quality checking tool to lower energy costs. Water quality is vital to shrimp survival rate.


Pijarana Samukana, project manager of GTZ, said that shrimp farmers tend to misuse equipment and overfeed their shrimp, which leads to higher costs.


Energy accounts for 20 percent of the total cost of Thai shrimp farms, the second-largest cost of shrimp farming after feed. Energy consumption at shrimp farms has dropped to 200 units per day from 300 units before the programme, according to experimental studies.


Pijarana said improving energy efficiency could strengthen the competitiveness of Thai shrimp exports. GTZ is also providing support to improve overseas market access for Thai shrimp.


The E3Agro programme also includes the palm oil and tapioca starch industries.

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