Thai envoy vows support to boost PH aquaculture

THE government of Thailand has assured support to further develop the Philippines’ aquaculture industry.

Thai Ambassador to the Philippines Thanatip Upatising, who attended the 11th National Shrimp Congress at SMX Convention Center in Bacolod City Thursday, November 16, said he invited Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol to see his country’s aquaculture as well as poultry and swine industries.

Upatising said that to develop these industries, the Philippines needs technology.

“We are trying to merge the knowledge of the two countries also for the advancement of the people in this region,” the envoy said, adding that the Thai government has been open for partnerships and other development ventures with the Philippines.

Thailand is one of the world's largest producers of shrimp at 250,000 metric tons every year. However, the volume decreased in the last decade mainly due to shrimp disease.

Because of technology, "we can address the disease affecting our shrimp production,” Upatising said.

In Thailand, the government let the private sector run the industry, and this is something that the local government may also do, he added.

Upatising said the aquaculture industry of the Philippines is controlled by only a small group or players.

“You need to let more people come in to get a fair market competition which will surely benefit the farmers,” the Thai ambassador said, stressing that “in aquaculture or in any sector of agriculture, you have to look at the farmers.”

Thailand’s efforts to develop the farmers include letting private companies deal directly with them so that they can get loans when needed.

The envoy said he believes that the Philippine government cannot extend its assistance to all sectors thus in this case the private sector should come in help.

Back in the 1980’s, the Philippines was the number one exporter of shrimp.

This is where the Thailand government wants to bring its neighboring country back, Upatising said.

“Thailand is not your competitor. We are in Asean, we work closely on food security,” he said, adding that “what is good for the Philippines is good for Thailand.”
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