CP Foods constructing pilot RAS shrimp farm in Florida

Published on
March 6, 2020

Thailand’s Charoen Pokphand Foods PCL (CPF) is building a pilot recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) shrimp farm in the United States, with the goal of eventually expanding it to produce up to 720 metric tons of shrimp annually.

The facility will be located in Indiantown, Florida, less than 40 miles away from West Palm Beach, and will be operated by newly formed CP Foods subsidiary Homegrown Shrimp. In addition to the RAS farm, the company will also operate a small hatchery to supply of postlarvae shrimp to the U.S. and European markets, it said on its website.

“It’s an important project for us,” CPF CEO Prasit Boondoungprasert told The Bangkok Post on 5 March. “We sent a team to go live there, study the market and the law, and find a suitable location.”

The company expects to wrap up the pilot farm by 2021, and will initiate an expansion assuming the pilot is a success, he said.

CPF did not immediately respond to a written request for comment on Friday, 6 March.

Up to 95 percent of seafood consumed in the United States consists of imports, though as much as 30 percent of that total is U.S.-caught seafood that is sent abroad for processing. The U.S. ran a seafood trade deficit exceeding USD 16 billion (EUR 14.3 billion) in recent years, and in order to narrow that deficit, the Trump administration is making efforts to boost the aquaculture sector in the U.S., Prasit said.

“The U.S. government really wants this [CPF’s shrimp farm project] to happen because it wants to create local jobs,” Prasit said.

Shrimp is one of the major products exported by CPF, along with meat and frozen foods.

In 2016, CPF announced it has paid USD 1.08 billion (EUR 996.4 million) to acquire Bellisio Foods Inc., the producer and distributor of Michelina’s, Atkins, Boston Market, Chili’s, EatingWell, and Eat! Brands. The acquisition has enabled the Thai company to gain broader and wider access to the U.S. market, where it doubled its shrimp sales in 2019.

CPF’s parent company, the Charoen Pokphand Group, operates in food, retail and telecommunications, the daily said.

The company’s sales revenue fell 2 percent year-on-year to THB 140.8 billion (USD 4.44 billion, EUR 4.1 billion) in the fourth quarter but its net profit increased 139 percent year-on-year to THB 4.01 billion (USD 126.3 million, EUR 116.6 million) during October through December 2019 due to “impressive performance” of its overseas businesses – especially in Vietnam.

Photo courtesy of Homegrown Shrimp

Reporting from Hanoi, Vietnam

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