Thai prawn industry more or less escapes fallout of Covid-19

BANGKOK (The Nation/ANN): The Thai Prawn Association announced on Wednesday (Dec 16) that Thailand will produce some 310,000 tonnes of prawns in 2021,15 per cent more than the 270,000 tonnes produced this year.

The association’s president Somsak Paneetatyasai said this year’s production was 7 per cent less than the 290,000 tonnes produced in 2019, adding that farmers held back on production due to prawn disease and concerns over the Covid-19 situation.

Most prawn farms are located in Central, East, and upper and lower South regions of the country, and this year, production in the East dropped by 17 per cent.

Apart from Thailand, the prawn production has dropped in China by 12 per cent, Vietnam by 6 per cent and India by 5 per cent.

In comparison, production has risen by 4 per cent in Indonesia and Malaysia, and by as much as 12 per cent in the Philippines.

However, the association’s vice president Bunjonk Nisspawanich said he was glad that the outbreak has affected the prawn industry only slightly, adding that this has helped preserve the trust of importers.

In the first 10 months of 2020, Thailand exported 123,297 tonnes of prawns valued at Bt35.87 billion. This marked an 8.84 per cent drop from 135,249 tonnes exported in the same period in 2019, and 10.73 per cent in terms of value, which last year was Bt40.19 billion.

Somsak, meanwhile, said he expects total export of prawns to come in at 150,000 tonnes by the end of the year worth Bt44 billion in value.

He said that though export has been affected by the Covid-19 situation in trade partner countries, local consumption of prawns has risen.

He said in 2019, local consumption accounted for 22 per cent of production, adding that he expects up to 40 per cent to be consumed locally in five years. - The Nation/Asia News Network

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