Exec: Thai shrimp sector needs to figure out a way to stay relevant : June 21, 2018
The situation in Thailand is a struggle at the moment and is worsened by the divide between shrimp producers and processors, Jim Gulkin, managing director of Siam Canadian, told IntraFish at Thaifex 2018 in Bangkok in May this year.
Disagreements over prices and lack of collaboration between all involved in the sector are leading to an internal crisis, adding to the already complicated global situation.
As farmers try to increase shrimp prices for processors, the latter struggle to position the product in markets where shrimp from other origins is sold at cheaper prices.
“By increasing the prices they make it very difficult for processors to export,” Gulkin said.
Although it’s in the interest of both sides to work together, at the moment there is “more yelling than talking,” he said.
In the past Thai farmers avoided working with processors, encouraged by high demand from Chinese brokers, who at the same time were not as demanding in terms of certification.
However, as other countries such as India and Indonesia sell at lower prices, the Chinese market is opening up to them, leaving Thai producers struggling to sell their product.
“Processors need to convince farmers that to succeed they need helpers, and that’s processors,” Gulkin said.
According to him, the problems in the Thai shrimp sector are piling up, and a number of issues need to be tackled.
“Thailand needs to figure something out to stay relevant. In terms of volumes it can’t compete, so it’ll have to be in efficiency, infrastructure, value-added…I don’t know,” Gulkin said.
The country produced 300,000 metric tons of shrimp in 2017 and production is expected to remain flat this year.