Shrimp farming industry cries for help

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Thai shrimp farmers last week sought the Commerce Ministry’s assistance to respond to their declining production due to the spread of an infectious disease.

Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom said after meeting with members of the Thai Frozen Food Association (TFFA) that they requested financial aid and low-interest loans for shrimp farmers, especially those whose farms were heavily hit by the viral disease.

He said shrimp exports in Q1 have slightly declined but the situation will worsen in Q2 when the total shrimp supply will diminish due to the virus.

TFFA chairman Pote Aramwattananond said Thailand’s shrimp exports in Q1 dropped by 20-30 percent – some Bt20-30 billion – due to the strong baht and the spread of the Early Mortality Syndrome (EMS) virus at shrimp farms.

Thailand’s shrimp supply has been slashed by half in Q1, with total supply from domestic shrimp farms reaching only 57,000 tonnes, a sharp drop from the average 100,000 tonnes.

He called on the Finance Ministry and Bank of Thailand to work closely in finding measures to urgently help the private sector while the shrimp farming industry is in need of financial liquidity.

Without assistance, the industry may produce less than 60,000 tonnes of shrimp in Q2 while the total yield this year may not reach 400,000 tonnes.