Shrimp farmers protest seeking higher shrimp prices

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SONGKHLA, May 8 – Shrimp farmers from eight southern Thai provinces gathered today at the Tinsulanonda Bridge in this provincial seat awaiting the decision of a committee meeting considering responses to help farmers facing depressed shrimp prices.

Kanchit Hemarak, president of the shrimp farmers network, said the group wants the committee to urgently initiate a shrimp mortgage scheme, and warned that if a satisfactory outcome is not reached, the group would expand its protest.

The producers representative said prices should vary from Bt130-180/kg depending on shrimp and prawn sizes from 80 pieces/kg and 40 pieces/kg respectively.

Mr Kanchit suggested a timeline for the project beginning May 15. With no clear answer to the protestors, he warned the group might close the Tinsulanonda Bridge for an expanded protest and might travel to Bangkok to protest directly to the prime minister.

Meanwhile, prices of other agricultural produce–particularly vegetables and meats — have increased. For instance, the price of pork and Chinese kale have quickly risen in the northeastern province of Sakon Nakhon from Bt105 to Bt130/kilo and from Bt20 to Bt40 per bunch respectively.

Local merchants said consumer prices have doubled, and speculated they would rise even higher when the new school term starts, which is soon. They asked the government to help, as they are in trouble, they said.