The Department of Agriculture is gearing up for a shrimp production blitz to enable the Philippines to regain a firm foothold in the export market within the next six months.
In an interview, Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala said he had directed the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources to draw up a roadmap for the shrimp industry within the next two to three weeks.
“We need a crash program to increase production within the next six months up to the level that we could send shipments abroad,” Alcala said.
“I was informed that shrimp farms in neighboring countries got hit by diseases and it would be good if we could help address the supply situation in the international market, also to our advantage,” he added.
The agriculture chief said the Philippines had enough breeding stock to drive export-oriented production.
He said he had met with industry stakeholders in Cebu last week and that they had agreed that among the top priorities should be supply integration.
“This might be it, we (shrimp industry) may be able to rebound,” Alcala said.
According to the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (Seafdec), the Philippines is now following a path that is different from its neighbors and is finding the cultivation of both the monodon or Tiger variety and vannamei or white variety as necessary for the development of the shrimp industry.
Seafdec said the strategy that was working for the Philippines, at least in 2012, was to produce the vannamei for the domestic market and the bigger native monodon for the export market.
Data from the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics showed that the output value of Tiger prawn fell by 4.9 percent year-on-year in the first semester this year to P9.1 billion.