October 1, 2014

Thailand, world's ex-biggest shrimp exporter, to become importer


Thailand, once the world's biggest shrimp producer and exporter, needs to import at least 40,000 tonnes of shrimp this year, according to Poj Aramwattananont, president of the Thai Frozen Foods Association.

He said Thai shrimp production this year is projected to further drop 42% to 200,000 tonnes, from last year's 250,000 tonnes, due to the lingering early mortality syndrome (EMS) epidemic.

An EMS outbreak that started in 2012 killed tonnes of broodstock in shrimp farms across the country,  sharply cutting Thailand's annual crustacean output from a record high of 640,000 tonnes in 2010 to only 250,000 tonnes last year.

Mr. Poj said operations of the country's shrimp processing plants would face disruptions unless raw shrimp were imported from other countries, more likely India, Vietnam or Ecuador.

Around 40,000 tonnes, he said, needed to be imported towards the end of this year to cover for the production shortfalls.

From the late 1990's till 2012, Thailand was the number one shrimp supplier to the US. The distinction was taken over by India last year when Thailand's shrimp production plunged 54% from the year before.

Mr. Pos also reported that shrimp prices have fallen by as much as 30% since last year due to the low output, which resulted in fewer Thai orders from shrimp importers around the world.

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