Thailand Plans Scheme to Help Shrimp Farms
On Friday, the Thailand government announced a "mortgage scheme" to help shrimpers cope with the recent price decline. The announcement was made by Yanyong Phuangrach, the director-general of the Internal Trade Department, who blamed the country's oversupply for low shrimp prices.
The Thai Shrimp Association predicted this year's production will increase by 6 percent to 530,000 metric tons, 350,000 of which will be exported. Local shrimp consumption is only 40,000 tons, leaving 140,000 tons of surplus.
Vannamei shrimp is currently quoted at 100 baht for a kilogram containing 60 shrimp, compared with 98 baht last year, 121 baht in 2006 and 114 baht in 2005, reports the Bangkok Post.
Phuangrach explained that the shrimp program would be similar to those mortgage schemes implemented to rice and cassava farmers, in which the government mortgages the price of rice and cassava to keep it steady.
Details of the program would be finalized when Thai Commerce Minister, Mingkwan Sangsuwan, is back from APEC Trade Ministers' meeting in Peru, said Phuangrach in a public announcement. The Internal Trade Department is under the Ministry of Commerce, which has devised the program with the Agriculture Ministry.
To boost domestic consumption, the Commerce Ministry is requesting that major retailers promote shrimp consumption.
Previously, shrimpers have met with Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej to request his intervention for their survival during plunging shrimp prices.