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Organic Shrimp Certification Starts

THAILAND - An organic certification standard is being introduced to Thailand's shrimp industry. A move which hopes to secure the country's supremacy as the world's leading premium-grade shrimp producer.

Officially opened yesterday at the Fisheries Department, the Organic Agricultural and Farm Products Certification Office will be the national body to accredit organic farm products for export. It operates under the criteria outlined by the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM).

Although Thailand is already the world's largest shrimp exporter, the volume of organic shipments remain far too small to serve growing demand, says a report in the Bangkok Times.

Thailand shrimp exports for this year are targeted at 340,000 tonnes however, now until now it has been unable to penetrate the expanding organic market in Europe. Here organic food demand is growing at between 10 and 20 per cent a year.

Collaboration Brings Benefits

Somying Piumsomboon, director-general of the Fisheries Department, said to increase the volume, the department and the Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Technische Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GTZ), or the German Agency for Technical Co-operation, have worked to promote organic prawn farming to meet international standards while preserving the environment.

A pilot farm, Sureerath Farm in Chanthaburi, has proved successful. It has produced organic black tiger prawns for export to Switzerland and Germany that could fetch prices that were about 30 per cent higher than for normal shrimp. The success prompted the department and the GTZ to encourage more farmers to apply organic methods and now five groups that are producing a combined 1,073 tonnes of shrimp per year.

View the Bangkok Post story by clicking here.