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Thai Shrimp Farmers Turn Organic

THAILAND - Thailand's commercial shrimp industry got a fresh start this year with Sureerath Farm's shipment of 40 tonnes of organic shrimp to Switzerland and Germany.

The exports represent Thailand's first foray into the organic shrimp market, a fairly new product even for health-conscious European customers, reports MonstersAndCritics. According to the news organisation, the shipment also marked a new beginning for Thailand's shrimp industry, which has an environmentally dirty past.

Sureerath Farm in Laem Sing district of Chanthaburi province, 220 kilometres east of Bangkok, is the first and still only Thai farm to receive certification from Naturland, an association of organic farmers in Germany, for meeting standards for raising shrimp and ensuring product quality.

The certification paved the way for Sureerath to secure orders this year from Switzerland's Co-op retailer and Germany's Deutsche See, an organic sea food distributor. Sureerath Farm president Prayoon Hongrat is one of Thailand's pioneers of organic shrimp farming.

'I make money off people buying my shrimp, but it's not necessary for me to make more money by selling them unhealthy shrimp,' Prayoon told MonstersAndCritics. 'That's bad karma. By not using chemicals, the shrimp are healthier and their immune systems can fight diseases,' Prayoon said. 'Before, my shrimps died, and I lost a lot of money.'

Five years ago, Sureerath Farm went completely organic, refusing to use any chemical-based feed meal or medicine in its ponds, lowering the density of its shrimp stock and installing wastewater recycling that avoids environmental damage. The sustainable practices cost about 30 per cent more than conventional shrimp farming, Prayoon said.

the Fish Site Editor

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