Thai shrimp farmers ask gov't for price supports
Thai exporters stop buying shrimp following last week's terrorist attacks in the U.S.
Sept. 18 - WorldCatch News Network -
Thai Shrimp farmers want their government to store shrimp coming on the market and pay farmers half the market price to provide cashflow, given a sharp fall in price following the terrorist attacks in the United States.
"The spot price of black tiger shrimps (50 per kilogramme) at Mahachai's central market dropped suddenly by 30 baht to 230-240 baht the next morning after attacks on Tuesday," said Surapol Pratheungtham, the president of Thai Marine Shrimp Farmers' Association. "Cold storage operators and exporters panicked and stopped buying shrimps from farmers," he said.
The US is Thailand's largest shrimp export market, accounting for 45 percent of total exports in volume and 39 percent in value. Last year, shipments to the US from Thailand totalled 65,261 tons worth 26 billion baht, followed by Japanese shrimps totalling 23.65 tons worth 13.1 billion baht. Thailand's total shrimp exports last year were 144, 338 tons worth 60.2 billion baht. Mr Surapol said he was worried that if the conflict escalated and importers delayed buying shrimps, the local market could be flooded with supplies and the price would plunge, damaging farmers. September to November is the high season for exports to the US because of orders for the festive season. On the local market, between 600 and 1,000 tons of shrimps are delivered to the central market each day. Sometimes, supplies peak at 1,500 tons.
The association urged the Commerce Ministry to introduce a pledging programme to absorb shrimps for a short time to prop up the market price. "We want the government to pay us only half the market price during the pledging period to minimise the impact and give us cashflow to carry on our businesses," Mr Surapol said. Shrimp farmers are worried that if the domestic price falls too low this month, their income for the rest of this year will be reduced as importers will use September's price as the basis for bargaining. The association urged shrimp farmers not to panic. It is working with cold storage operators to assist farmers by increasing the storage space.
(c) 2001, Bangkok Post, Thailand. Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News.
FAO release aquaculture figures
The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) has published its report entitled ‘World Production of Farmed Marine Products in 1999.’
The FAO reports that in 1999, the global total of aquaculturally produced marine commodities was 33,310,000 tonnes. This record amount is almost four per cent higher than the 1998 total of 30,000,000 tonnes and a massive increase on 1990’s total of 13,074,000 tonnes. For the past five years, the total has been rising annually by almost 2,000,000 tonnes.
Farm Technology Farm computer and Internet access increases
USDA report, Farm Computer Usage and Ownership, indicates that 43 percent of U.S. farms in 2001 have Internet access, compared with 29 percent in 1999. General access to computers on farms increased from 47 percent in 1999 to 55 percent in 2001. Fifty percent of all U.S. farms own or lease a computer, compared with 40 percent in 1999. Farms using computers for farm business increased from 24 percent in 1999 to 29 percent in 2001. Of the farms with more than $100,000 in annual sales, 73 percent have access to a computer, 69 percent own or lease a computer, 55 percent use the computer for farm business, and 58 percent have access to the Internet. Of the farms with less than $100,000 in sales, 40 percent use the Internet and 25 percent use computers for farm business. The full USDA report can be found at:
Asia Set to Swallow Australian Fish Exports
Story Posted On: 03-01-2001
CANBERRA --Australia's booming fish exports are set to climb further, with much of the catch going to eager Asian markets as the regional economy improves, an economist said Thursday.
Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (Abare) senior economist Peter Gooday said the total value of the Australian fish catch would reach A$3 billion by 2005, with most of it going to Asian markets.
The catch is now valued about A$2.5 billion, with most of it going overseas, he said
During the past 10 years, the value of Australia's fisheries had climbed 56%, while aquaculture production had climbed by 150%, Gooday said.
Gooday said much of the predicted growth in the value of fish exports would come from better prices rather than just growth in the size of catches.
Economic conditions in Asia, which accounts for most of Australia's exports, would also play an important role in the health of the Australian fishing industry, he said.
"Demand for Australian fisheries exports is expected to remain strong in major Asian markets in line with assumed increases in economic growth," Gooday said.
"However, an assumed appreciation of the Australian dollar may reduce the competitiveness of Australian exports," he said.
Better productivity by European and U.S. pork and poultry producers could hurt Australian fish exports because they are often substituted for fish if the price is better, he added.
Copyright 2001 Associated Press
Thai shrimp exports expected to grow
Thai shrimp exports totaled US$1.2 billion U.S. dollars for first seven months of 2001, up 42%
Oct. 3 - WorldCatch News Network - Despite the unfavorable world economic climate, Thailand's exports of agricultural products were still performing well, according to the Thai Farmers' Research Center (TFRC).
The famous research body said in a report Wednesday that although the global economic slowdown, compounded by the terror attacks in U.S., was eroding demand for Thai exports generally, the agro-exports, like rice, were still expected to drive up demand in foreign countries.
Processed foods, including canned fish, vegetable, shrimp, and fruits were also expected to gain more orders.
According to the report, the total value of the country's top 17 agricultural exports during the first seven months of 2001 expanded by 10.38 percent, compared to that of the same period last year.
During the first seven months of the year, frozen shrimp exports totaled 1.2 billion U.S. dollars, up 42.32 percent on a year-on-year basis.
From January to July, frozen chicken export increased to 271.6 million dollars, up by 23.45 percent, while processed chicken export rose 13.89 percent to 139.5 million dollars.
However, due to big downfall in the exports of electronics and other industrial products, the expected total exports of Thailand this year would be brought down to about 64.2 billion dollars from 69.9 billion dollars a year earlier, said TFRC.
Copyright 2001 XINHUA NEWS AGENCY
Chinese seafood supply to soar over next five years
Aquaculture to outpace traditional fishing in feeding supply
By Zhao Huanxin, China Daily staff
Feb. 1 - WorldCatch News Network - The expansion of the fisheries industry in China is expected to make more food and money available for the people, according to a senior fisheries official.
In the coming five years, China's aquatic output is projected to hit 46 million tons, with the greater portion - 65 per cent of the total amount - contributed by aquatic breeding rather than offshore fishing, Yang Jian of the Ministry of Agriculture said.
Yang, director of the ministry's Fisheries Bureau, said the per capita annual income of fishermen will reach 6,000 yuan (US$722.8) by the year 2005.
Between 1995 and 2000, earnings by fishermen posted a yearly rise of 7.5 per cent - a faster growth pace than other agricultural sectors, such as crop-growing, which saw a wretched 2 per cent income growth last year, according to the bureau statistics.
The fisheries sector is set to progress faster in China in the years ahead, according to some experts.
They have also said that the population explosion, economic expansion and the depletion of terrestrial resources have prompted people to look to the sea, which covers 71 per cent of the planet's surface, to support their existence and help them develop.
China has worked out a plan, in which the fisheries sector is expected to contribute more to improving people's nutrition levels and alleviating the pressure on grain production, according to sources with the State Development Planning Commission.
In the newly fashioned "Food Development Programme for China in 2010," the commission said that by the end of the first decade of the century, the country's per capita aquatic product consumption will increase by 10 kilograms.
At present it stands at 32.4 kilograms, according to Ministry of Agriculture statistics.
But water contamination, overfishing and other pressures put on aquatic resources are blocking further growth of the fisheries industry, according to Qi Jingfa, vice-minister of Agriculture.
This accounts for why China's newly revised Fishery Law has stipulated that the country will strictly limit the amount of fish caught.
China is now the only country in the world where aquatic breeding output exceeds the offshore catch, according to Qi.
(C) 2001 China Daily. via Bell&Howell Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved
Prawn Peelability An Issue In Australia
Story Posted On: 03-16-2001
Peelability. For a nation that's passionate about its prawns, there are few greater culinary issues than a task that can often prove all too frustrating and messy.
(For the record, first pinch off the head. Peel off the first segment of the shell to 10 centimetres. Hold the meat then squeeze the tail until everything, including the legs, comes off.)
Peelability is an issue Australia's aquaculturalists have been addressing for some time, recognising that consumers consider it an issue. As a result they have been paying increased attention to the diet of stock and the time of harvesting of farmed prawns.
Yesterday, at Homebush Bay, peelability, as well as taste, sweetness, shell structure and even the prawn's anatomy, which can contribute to its appearance, were assessed by 10 judges who ranged from scientists to chefs, at the inaugural Sydney Royal Aquaculture Competition.
Two-kilo samples of cooked farmed prawns and various species of oysters were "cold-couriered" to the Showgrounds for judging. The prawns and oysters came from NSW and Queensland, though the breadth of entries was limited by the floods in the State's north.
The head judge, Mr John Sussman, who used to run an innovative seafood supply business, the Flying Squid Brothers, says an entirely new criteria had to be established for the competition to identify the giants among shrimps, as it were.
It's the first occasion that there's been "third party, independent and arbitrary judging process" for Australian aquaculture produce.
The judging was rigorous: the shells should generally be firm, but not too firm - that issue of peelability again - and a prawn missing a leg or three may indicate poor handling and could be eliminated under rules as fresh as the produce. Mr Sussman says that it's like identifying a fault in a wine.
Ultimately, Mr Sussman says the Royal Show prawns and oysters were judged on their "culinary quality" which were a sum of the technical parts.
"What we were looking for were prawns with a good, sweet, salty tang with a fresh, back palate taste," said Mr Sussman. "This sort of show is clearly sending a message out to the industry that it will be rewarded for best practice and husbandry. We have a very high quality of seafood available to us in Australia. The quality of hook to plate is second to none. Today's entries in both categories comprehensively demonstrated how far we've come."
Mr Sussman says the Royal Agricultural Society hopes that the aquaculture competition will expand beyond prawns and oysters and include other varieties of seafood such as salmon, trout and barramundi. He believes that the competition will also help consumers choose the best prawns and oysters available.
Copyright 2001 Smh.com.au
Philippine Officials Say Local Shrimp is Virus Free
Story Posted On: 03-30-2001
PMANILA -- Philippine Agriculture Secretary Leonardo Montemayor said that Philippine shrimps are not infected with the deadly viral disease technically known as White Spot Syndrome Virus [WSSV].
He made the assurance to clarify a newspaper report lifted from the Australian Press, which stated that local shrimps are infected with WSSV.
WSSV is described as a highly contagious disease that can kill crustaceans such as shrimp, lobster, and crabs.
According to the press report, WSSV has destroyed shrimp farms in China, Japan, Indonesia, Thailand, and on Australia's north coast, as well as in the Philippines.
Montemayor said that it is unfortunate that the wire report was taken out of context, adding that the Department of Agriculture through the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources [BFAR] was previously informed that Australia is merely considering a ban of shrimp imports from some countries in Asia and South America, where WSSV is still prevalent.
The viral disease had caused major losses to the shrimp industry during the mid 1990s in some countries.
The disease is still present in some Asia-Pacific countries, and in Central and South America, especially in Ecuador.
To date, Montemayor said that the Philippines has not experienced serious outbreaks of WSSV, "Because we have been very vigilant. In fact, we have developed a preventive program to avoid its entry into the country."
He said that the BFAR has been implementing a national action program to control WSSV since March last year. The program features components such as prevention, containment, eradication, and promotion of the Code of Conduct for aquaculture.
The Department of Agriculture chief said the program is processing well, because the BFAR has the capability to immediately detect the presence of the WSSV at its earliest stage, so that remedial measures can be implemented effectively.
At present, BFAR has 10 diagnostic laboratories strategically located in Bacolod, Iloilo, Cebu, Bohol, Zamboanga, Cagayan de Oro, Butuan, Lanao del Norte, UP Los Banos, and at its central office in Quezon City.
Montemayor said that BFAR is also putting up another diagnostic laboratory to be located in Davao City.
Each diagnostic laboratory has Polymerase Chain Reaction [PRC] equipment which is specifically designed to detect the presence of the deadly WSSV.
Copyright 2001 Asia Pulse