Thailand shrimp exports up
The Thailand Frozen Foods Association (TFFA) announced this week that the country's shrimp exports are growing despite the global recession.
TFFA President Khun Poj Arramwatananond said that Thai shrimp exports were expected to level off this year. However, the latest TFFA figures show that they were up 19.3 percent in January and February, to 48,600 metric tons, compared the same period last year.
Thai shrimp exports in the first two months of this year were valued at USD 290 million (EUR 217 million), up 4 percent from 2008.
Arramwatananond said that frozen shrimp is becoming more popular at retail, as consumers worldwide dine out less frequently.
He also voiced concern about the political unrest in Thailand, fearing it will paralyze economic activity in Bangkok and mar the country's image. Bangkok is in its fourth day of emergency rule to keep protesters from reassembling after ending a three-week siege of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva's office. The protestors seek to oust Abhisit, who they say came to power illegitimately, and support former Premier Thaksin Shinawatra.
Khun Poj said Thailand's frozen shrimp output is projected to increase 10 percent this year. But the Thailand Eastern Shrimp Farmers Association said production was down 15 percent, to 96,000 metric tons, in the first quarter. Farmers are cutting production up to 20 percent to keep shrimp prices up and to remain profitable.