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(From Thai Press Reports)
Section: Research - On November 18, 2003, over 1,000 shrimp and prawn farmers from Chachoengsao, Suphanburi, Chanthaburi, Nakhon Pathom and Samut Prakarn gathered at the Royal Plaza grounds to urge the government to seek solutions to the problem of slumping shrimp prices which have fallen to the lowest in almost 20 years. At present, the wholesale prices of some shrimp have been quoted as low as Bt50-60 per kilo, while retail prices gone to as low as Bt70-80 per kilo. The government thus has resorted to the "Blue Flag Shrimp-Fresh from Farms to Consumers" project to help shrimp raisers. In so doing, the prices of shrimp in the market have been propped up by some Bt10-15 per kilo. However, this government price intervention scheme is regarded as a short-term measure to ameliorate shrimp raisers' vocalized grievances. What the government should do in an earnest way is to implement long-term policies for the shrimp industry's sustainable revival.
Remarkably, Thai shrimp raisers have recently tried to find new varieties of shrimp and prawns to culture after having encountered many problems in black tiger prawn farming, particularly widespread diseases that decimated shrimp and prawn harvests. Since late 2002, more and more shrimp and prawn farmers have turned to cultivation of white prawns, or Vannamei, in lieu of black tiger prawns thanks to their shorter cultivation period, thus bringing down the formerly rising costs associated with black tiger prawns. In 2003, white prawn output is projected to exceed 87,500 tons, accounting for 35 percent of total shrimp and prawn production.
The market abroad is regarded as important for local shrimp and prawn production. As much as 90 percent of all shrimp and prawn production at home is earmarked for export markets. Still, the hindrance of greater supply of shrimp …