Shrimp farmers cut costs by 38.5%, contributing potential to $600 million export

Shrimp farmers cut costs by 38.5%, contributing potential to $600 million export

May 18, 2020

Shrimp farmers have significantly cut costs by 38.5% from health practices that avert shrimp diseases and mortality, enabling them to potentially seize opportunities in Philippines’ shrimp export reaching to $600 million a year.

   A package of technology including a water treatment probiotic of Bayer Philippines Inc. has cut farmers’ shrimp cost from P180 to P130 per kilo  while feeding shrimp efficiently.  The cost savings also includes electricity cost.

   The water treatment raises aeration and water exchange in ponds, cleaning the water, and enabling shrimp to maximize feeding capacity. Feed and power costs are the top two production cost indicators in aquaculture growing.  

   Feed cost is determined through FCR (feed conversion ratio)  which is computed as Total Feeds Consumed / Total Harvest Biomass. The lower the FCR, the more efficient the production leading to cost savings and higher returns.

   The cost-effective practise uses a microbial solution, the PondPlus which provides better balance of phytoplankton and beneficial microbes in shrimp pond water.  It maintains naturally healthful water conditions needed to maximize yield.

   Farm trials have been conducted in Bohol in April 2018 in the use of PondPlus and PondDtox, a unique bacteria, Paracoccus pantotrophus. PondDtox enables anaerobic conversion of toxic hydrogen sulphide into sulphate in pond sediments. 

   “The result is an improvement in the oxygenation and nutrition level of shrimp and other crops.  When used in conjunction with good farm management practices, PondPlus ensures good algal balance and pond color. The result is reduced stress and improved shrimp yields,” according to Bayer aquaculture experts.

   From Bayer products, the FCR of shrimp farmers was reduced from 1.3 to 1.1.

   Although there was a noted increase in health product cost from P5/kg to – 3/5 – P10/kg, this was well covered by the reduction of feed and power cost, said Rex Bryan B. Rivera, Bayer Philippines public affairs and sustainability head.

   Feed cost went down from P78 per kilo to P66 per kilo.  Power cost was cut from P40 per kilo to P20 per kilo.

   For a medium-scale farmer with 5,000 square meters for shrimp production, that equated to an additional P220,000 savings that went straight to the bottom line (net profit).    

Shrimp export

   Bayer Philippines has prioritized helping solve farmers’ problems on aquaculture, shrimp in particular, with its huge export opportunities. Markets are Japan, United States, Korea, and Europe.

  The Board of Investments (BOI)-supported reported the Philippines posted a $558 million shrimp export as of 2013.  Exported are frozen, head-on or headless, and un-shelled or shelled shrimp.

   Shrimp is a priority sector under BOI’s IPP (Investments Priority Program), given tax  holidays and other incentives.

   The International Trade Centre reported that Philippines’ shrimp export rose from 8,278 metric tons (MT) in 2013 to 10,124 MT in 2017.  Exports to the US jumped from 2,793 MT in 2013 to 3,273 MT in 2017 in the form of various shrimp species. It exported up to 300 MT of shrimp to Europe , mostly France, over the same period.

   “With the recently awarded GSP+ (Generalized System of Preference, a tariff reduction program)  status, exports to the European Union are likely to increase even further,” reported

Water Pollutant

   The presence of hydrogen sulphide in pond water causes reduced shrimp growth and mortality.  It consequently decreases feed conversion efficiency.  

  Hydrogen sulphide is a result of decomposition of organic material including leftover feed, dead vegetation, microalgae, and cyanobacteria.  It can cause mortality in shrimp up to 100%, but PondPlus and PondDtox address these water pollution problems.

   Chris Mitchum Ganancial, Bayer Animal Health aquaculture portfolio and key account manager, said Bayer has introduced a program, “Be in Control.” It aims to help farmers address problems on survival rate and solving problems of high feed costs arising from toxic pond water.

   The farm trials of PondPlus and PondDtox proved these are effective in reducing mortality rate from diseases owing to toxic pond water.

   On top of field trials, forums have been carried out on trial results, that educated farmers in Bacolod, Cebu, General Santos City, Batangas, Butuan City, and Zambales.

   “Majority of Filipino shrimp farmers still adopt old, traditional practices and generally perceive health products as unnecessary add-on costs. Despite large-scale operations by some, farmers don’t realize that they can be more efficient and profitable,” Rivera said.   “The value of using these health solutions far outweigh the investment.”

   University professors, chemists, and public and private researchers and business partner suppliers have been involved in the forums.

   Bayer has also trained farmers on using Virkon Aquatic, a disinfectant used in sanitizing water (continuous water sterilization) and disinfecting equipment.  Deocare Aqua similarly addresses mortality rate concern brought about by diseases and toxic gases.

   Stomi, another health solution, addresses low minerals to help harden the shells of shrimp and increase their disease immunity.

    “Be in Control” was recognized globally by Bayer Animal Health as a model in impact and distinctiveness that helped farmers achieve the profit they desire from shrimp growing.

Shrimp pioneer

   The Philippines is a pioneer in culturing several prawn and shrimp species, according to  

   Using the species Penaus monodon (black tiger shrimp), disease has widely devastated cultured shrimp growing in the Philippines in the 1990s.  It is still among the most cultured seafood species in the Philippines.

   This is despite the fact that many farmers abroad have successfully shifted to the use of Litopenaus vannamei (whiteleg shrimp).

   There is an estimated 1,500 aquaculture operators in the Philippines including small and medium enterprises and large companies, reported

   “By controlling the supply chain, these (large, export-oriented) companies are able ensure traceability and quality standards needed to export to demanding markets like the European Union. This is important because (shrimp ponds close to urban areas may be contaminated)

with pathogens.”

Shrimp producers

   Filipino shrimp manufacturers are located in Manila, Bohol, Butuan, and General Santos City. Other processed export shrimp are pasteurized bottled sautéed shrimp, fresh frozen black tiger or white shrimp, shrimp powder, and frozen block shrimp.

   Shrimp production for export requires food safety certification, Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP), ensuring quality. Rex Bryan B. Rivera/Melody Mendoza Aguiba

PHOTO- Bayer Animal Health showcasing “Be in Control” during the 12th Philippine National Shrimp Congress in Bacolod City. Chris Mitchum Ganancial with Mr. Hubert Malinao of Marcela Farms in Bohol “Be in Control” technical forums were conducted in various shrimp-growing provinces targeted by Bayer Animal Health

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