FEED Business Worldwide - July 2012
 
Philippine shrimp sector gets ready to take off 
 
by Gemma C. DELMO
 
 
As one of the pioneers of shrimp farming in Asia, the Philippines was once a dominant force in the global shrimp industry, ranking as the third biggest shrimp producer worldwide.
 
However deadly diseases in early 1990s ended that reign, as the plague nearly wiped out shrimp farms, leaving the industry in the doldrums. This occurred even as neighbouring nations such as Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia - who were once "wards" of Filipino shrimp farmers - raced ahead of their former "mentor". 
 
However, thanks to new technologies and improved management techniques, the Philippine shrimp sector is bent on reclaiming its glory days. According to the Philippine Shrimp Industry (PhilShrimp), developments are already underway to slowly but surely revitalize the industry.  Though they refused to conclude a definite timetable, the group is optimistic that it might not be too long before the industry regains its place at the top of the world shrimp trade.
 
 
Value, volumes, contribution to farm income
 
Though growers are raising different species, the domestic shrimp industry is concentrated on Penaeus Monodon or black tiger shrimp.  As one of the top aquaculture products, shrimp exports on the average earn US$105 million annually or 43% of the total export earnings from fish and fishery products.
 
About 86% of the total shrimp export is shipped to Japan while the rest goes to South Korea, USA, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore and Europe. For the first quarter of 2012, production of tiger prawn was 9,477 tonnes, down by 1.41% from last year's production of 9,582.56 tonnes.  According to the bureau of agricultural statistics (BAS), the decrease in production was caused by poor quality larvae and intense heat in the first two months of the quarter, which affected the growth and survival rates of tiger prawn in Pampanga province. BAS reported that a 12% reduction in other provinces' shrimp output was the effect of flooding during the last quarter of 2011, as some innundated ponds have not yet been rehabilitated.
 
Another item of note was a shift in harvest time from first quarter to second quarter, since tiger prawn growers anticipated higher prices during the Lent season, which fell late this year.
 
On the positive side, production increases in Lanao del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, Bataan and Misamis Occidental provinces were attributed to the increase in area harvested, intensive stocking, high quality shrimp larvae, proper management and ideal water salinity. All these factors led to high survival rate and large sizes of tiger prawn harvested.
 
 
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