Thai 2018 shrimp output could be sub 300,000t, says Siam Canadian’s Gulkin : Nov 12, 2018
Tom Seaman : UnderCurrent
Thailand’s shrimp output in 2018 could even dip below 300,000 metric tons, as farmers enjoy high prices, but processors struggle.
There is also still a tense situation between the farmers and packers over this, which Undercurrent News covered from the Thaifex show earlier in the year.
“Production is down a bit in Thailand. There is still the clash between the farmers and the packers. The farmers seem to think they don’t need the packers, which I just don’t understand. It seems so naïve,”; Jim Gulkin, CEO of Siam Canadian Group , told Undercurrent at the China show. “I think we [Thai production] will be sub 300,000t this year. The farmers are making good money, but the packers are struggling.”
Farmers are selling directly to China, cutting out the processors, the traditional route to market, he said. However, putting all your eggs in this basket would seem to be unwise, according to Gulkin, as Chinese production could recover.
Also, Thailand’s government is not allowing packers to import any raw material from other countries with strong production, such as India, in order to keep the plants going, said Gulkin. “The farmers are a big voting block the government wants to keep happy, whereas the packers are not.”
As early morality syndrome (EMS) hit Thailand and also Vietnam a few years ago, the latter started to import big volumes from other countries.
“In the darkest days of EMS, the packers in Vietnam were able to import big volumes of shrimp to keep going and they survived and flourished and continue to do so,” said Gulkin. Meanwhile, in Thailand, the sector has downsized.