August 28, 2018

CPF's new farming technique supports shrimp productions in Thailand



The shrimp business in Thailand has regained momentum due to burgeoning productions, Charoen Pokphand Foods' (CPF)  said, citing the opinions of experts. 


The boost in production is linked to CPF's newly developed farming technique - called the "3 Cleaning Approach" system - and the company's breeding programmes which successfully control the spread of Early Mortality Syndrome (EMS).


Dr. Sujint Thammasart, CPF's chief operating officer of its aquaculture business, said the production begins to rebound as shrimp farmers gain confidence from rising local price. Moreover, the EMS outbreaks are no longer a concern due to a successful breeding programme and better farming technique.


Five years ago, the spread of EMS has prompted CPF to develop farming system to curb the disease problem. The "3 Cleaning Approach" system focuses on shrimps in early stages of development, pond and water - all of which are important factors to be dealt with. The system encourages shrimp to grow healthier with high survival ratio. The technique would also help to double production.


"During the first three years of (struggle), we invented three cleaning systems. [These would ensure] clean pond, clean water and [healthy] animals," Dr. Thammasart said. "However, it takes time to convince farmers since they have to make some investments to developed the pond."


Dr. Thammasart added that the company has cooperated with Thailand's Agriculture Ministry to provide clean farming technology to farmers in the east of the country, particularly Chanthaburi. This effort was a role model for farmers nationwide to control EMS outbreaks, CPF said.


Shrimp disease is one of the key threats to farming, although there is no emerging diseases at the moment, Dr. Thammasart said at a recent CPF analyst meeting. The main challenge for Thailand's shrimp business, he added, is to control production cost to maintain competitiveness.


Once an industry giant, Thailand is losing key customers to major competitors like India and Vietnam due to a higher cost of operation.


This year, Thailand's shrimp year-on-year export volume to the US in June dropped by 42%. In addition, exports to the EU - once a key market for Thai products - also declined.


The US-based National Fishery Institute had reported that world's farmed shrimp production would reach 3.5 million tonnes this year.  Thailand's shrimp production is forecast to achieve 290,000 tonnes.


Thailand's advantage is the capability to farm bigger size shrimps, Dr. Thammasart pointed out.


For now, CPF is focusing on expanding market for value added Thai shrimps. 


"Thai operation will be a base for premium shrimp while India and Vietnam's operation will be the company's base for mass shrimp products" Dr. Thammasart said.


In explaining the development of CPF's premium shrimp, Robins McIntosh, senior vice president of CPF, said the company has developed an advance breeding programme to genetically improve strong and fast growing shrimps obtained from certain broodstocks.


"The company has made countless breeding programmes to find strong and fast growing shrimps," Robins explained. "Nowadays, EMS failure rate has dropped from over 40% to 0.1%."


In its effort to ensure disease-free shrimps, CPF has had shrimp nauplius nursed in an advance hatchery bio-security environment and underwent infectious disease testing for diseases like Vibrio Parahaemolyticus, EMS and Microsporidi.


CPF's 'baby' shrimps are thus trusted by farmers thanks to their outstanding survival rate, low infection risk and better economical value, the company stated.



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