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Third Indian Mill for CPF

INDIA - Thai Food Business Charoen Pokphand Foods, the CP Group's listed flagship, will invest US$10 million to buid a third new feed manufacturing plant in India.

The development aims to tap inot the continued growth in marine products, in line with new export opportunities for seafood in Malaysia and Russia.

"The well-planned development in the aquaculture business by Indian authorities in recent years has given us confidence to invest there," said Pinij Kungvankij, senior vice-president for foreign aquaculture business development with CPF.

For example, farmers are not allowed to farm more than 20 shrimp per square metre in order to avoid too small output. The measure has worked and black tiger prawns from Indian farms weigh as much as 30 grammes each or approximately 30 heads per kilogramme, compared to 40-50 heads per kilogramme from Thai farms.

Substantial expansion of shrimp farms across the country, in addition to high local consumption are also positive factors, said Mr Pinij.

The Marine Products Export Development Authority, India's government agency that oversees the development of aquaculture, reports that India produced about 185,820 tonnes of shrimp and prawns in 2005, with a total of 183,433 hectares of ponds. The agency expects that there would be an additional 10,000 hectares to raise both freshwater prawns and marine shrimp in 2008-09.

The third mill will be built on the west coast of India this year and start operating in early 2009, with a capacity to produce 80,000 tonnes of shrimp feed a year and putting total annual feed output from CP in India at 250,000 tonnes.