September 22, 2008
Thailand's Fisheries Department is preparing to launch the second plan for the domestic shrimp industry over the next three years, with one of the key objectives being reducing dependency on the US market, according to the Bangkok Post.
The plan, to be implemented from 2009 to 2011, will encourage shrimp farmers to focus on new markets such as Russia and the Middle East instead of relying on the volatile US market, which purchases about half of Thai shrimp exports, according to a source at the department.
The source said it is better for the farmers to focus on new markets than maintaining the 40 percent of US market share due to the unstable state of the US economy.
The plan aims to promote sustainable growth for the industry in terms of both production and export income. Output volume for the next three years would stay above 500,000 tonnes per year, mainly from farmed shrimp, while export income is expected to exceed THB 100 billion (US$2.9 billion), the source said.
The source said the first year of the plan, which ends at 2008, had met all targets by pushing exports to THB 70-80 billion (US$2.06-2.36 billion) on average and output volume to about 450,000 tonnes.
The plan has also enlarged farming areas by 10 percent and improving yields of white shrimp and black tiger shrimp to over 900 kg and 750 kg per rai respectively, from about 800 kg and 550 kg last year.
"Above all, the plan has succeeded in promoting a better environment at shrimp farms, producing healthier shrimp that meets international standards and allows consumers to trace back production sources," the source added.
Meanwhile, the Office of Agricultural Economics (OAE) has also introduced a new plan to promote sustainable growth of the shrimp sector in Thailand's east coast, which accounts for over 30 percent of the country's total shrimp output.
Suwakon Songsangthum, director of Zone 6 of OAE, said one initiative from the plan is to establish an eastern shrimp institute.