The country’s shrimp production will remain stagnant for the rest of the year amid lower demand, one of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic to the local aquaculture sector.


During the 13th Philippine Shrimp Congress, Chris Co, vice president of Oversea Feeds Corporation, said the industry estimate is that the Philippines’ shrimp production will be around 60,000 metric tons (MT), a slight decline from the average production of 65,000 MT over the last 20 years.

This, he said, is mainly due to weak purchasing power of many Filipinos during the pandemic, pushing producers to intentionally lower production.

“During the pandemic, a lot of farms on the ground reduced stock density to take into account the effects of lockdown. There is a problem with purchasing power. If the economy continues to re-open, then the industry will also ramp up production,” Co said.

According to Co, because of the gradual re-opening now, there has already been slight improvement in the farm-gate prices of shrimp over the last few weeks, which may encourage producers to increase their supply.

However, he also said that it will take three to five months for the new supply to come in since that is how long the cycle is for shrimp production.

For his part, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Director Eduardo Gongona said the annual average growth for shrimp production over the last 20 years stood at 2.4 percent, and he is optimistic that this can be sustained for this year and moving forward.

“The outlook is positive. The shrimp industry will grow to a height that would give a major contribution to our country’s food security. And we would like to entice more investments in aquaculture, particularly in shrimp. The government is ready to provide technical assistance and post-harvest facilities to support the sector,” Gongona said.

During the third quarter of the year, the country’s total fisheries production, which contributed 16.2 percent to the total agriculture and fisheries production, declined by 0.4 percent.

At current prices, the value of fisheries production now, including shrimp, stood at P70.30 billion.

During the Congress, Senator Cynthia Villar, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, recognized that the shrimp aquaculture industry of the Philippines is continuously growing and provides huge income to the country, provides jobs to the people, and secures food supply to the people.

“The Philippine Shrimp industry has been successfully exporting to the strict Japanese market. The Philippines is an archipelagic country and it can go a long way in developing its municipal waters and aquaculture farms,” Villar said.

“There might be a lot of challenges in the industry during the pandemic but the government, the research institution, and the industry players, and local fishermen and shrimp farmers must focus on establishing a partnership and support system for the industry to thrive,” she added.

The 13th Philippine Shrimp Congress brought together shrimp producers, hatcheries, feed millers, exporters, suppliers, experts, and institutions promoting and supporting the growth of the shrimp industry in the Philippines.

For his part, Philippine Shrimp Congress Chairperson Norberto O. Chingcuanco said a sustainable and environment conscious growth of the shrimp industry is vital for it to be able to continuously contribute to national food security and economic growth.

“When it comes to economic growth, we are especially talking about livelihood opportunities that the shrimp industry creates even to the remote areas of the country. The industry has also reached the level of awareness that we need to take care of our environment as our livelihood relies on the quality and sanitation of our environment,” he said.

Source: Manila Bulletin (