Turmoil in Sri Lanka not hindering Taprobane Seafoods

Published on
March 20, 2023
A Taprobane Seafoods vannamei shrimp pond.

Colombo, Sri Lanka-based Taprobane Seafoods has not been significantly impacted by the country’s recent political turmoil, according to the company’s general manager, Frank Duraisamy.

Speaking at the 2023 Seafood Expo North America, Duraisamy said while his company is saddened by the crisis in Sri Lanka, which culminated in the July 2022 resignation of its president, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, it hasn’t seen any disruption in its operations.

“To put it very simply, the issue is dollars,” Duraisamy told SeafoodSource. “As we export 100 percent of our farmed products, we control the dollars, so by doing that, we are able to survive. The country needs dollars. They’re not in a position they will tighten the screws on us.”

Duraisamy said the company is keeping an eye on the general election taking place 25 April, 2023, and the presidential election in 2024, to gauge the future political direction of the country. Duraisamy said he expects the upstart leftist party to score a win against the two main parties that have exchanged control of the levers of power in Sri Lanka since it became a democracy.

“Presently, I think there’s a good chance for the leftist party,” he said. “People are looking for new solutions, and the other two parties are seen as the same, and many want to punish them.”

Even while Taprobane continues its rapid expansion into shrimp farming, which now accounts for 65 percent of its revenue, Duraisamy said he’s not overly concerned with the policy proposals being put forth by the newly arrived leftists.

“They can’t implement too many policy changes,” he said. “It doesn’t work that fast in Sri Lanka.”

Taprobane is now doing vannamei shrimp farming on the west coast of Sri Lanka and monodon shrimp farming on the east coast, as well  as continuing its swimming crab fishing in the country’s north. Taprobane’s vannamei-monodon split is now 80-20 by volume, he said.

Duraisamy said fuel shortages in the country have harmed the crab fishermen it contracts with, with many stuck on the beach, but that Taprobane’s expansion into shrimp farming has been so successful it is building a new processing facility to handle its increased volumes.

“As long as we keep bringing in dollars, we’ll be OK,” he said.

Photo courtesy of Taprobane Seafoods

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