Government tackles slump in shrimp sales

Government tackles slump in shrimp sales

The government is reversing a Covid 19-driven slump in sales of farmed shrimp by cutting out a central distribution market, according to the Commerce Ministry.

Farmed shrimps have been shunned by consumers following the outbreak of Covid-19 at the central shrimp market in Samut Sakhon last week. Many consumers have associated shrimp distribution markets with the virus outbreak and have declined to purchase shrimps, causing demand to plummet in recent days.

The Department of Internal Trade (DIT) will arrange to have modern trade stores and members of the Thai Restaurant Association (TRA) buy the shrimps directly from the farms.

By cutting out the distribution markets, seen as potential breeding grounds for the virus, the Commerce Ministry believes consumers will feel more at ease in buying or consuming shrimps, according to Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit.

The concerns have persisted -- despite assurances by health and fishery authorities -- that farmed shrimps are safe to eat if cooked properly, Mr Jurin said.

The DIT will take a leading role in creating business matching opportunities between shrimp farmers and modern trade stores and the TRA. The parties are being invited to a meeting this week to discuss direct shrimp sales, the minister said.

Modern trade stores expected to take part in the programme are The Mall, Tesco Lotus, Foodland Supermarket, Big C and Makro, he said. The TRA, meanwhile, has extensive members, 500 of whom are owners of restaurants in Bangkok, he said.

As for the decision by neighbouring Laos to ban imports of seafood from Thailand over Covid-19 fears, the Department of Fisheries, the Thai commerce attache and the Thai ambassador in Vientiane were attempting to secure an appointment with their Lao counterparts for talks aimed at raising Laos' confidence in seafood from Thailand, he said.

Meanwhile, the PM's Office Minister Anucha Nakasai said seafood dishes will be served to cabinet ministers at their weekly meeting on Tuesday to demonstrate to the public that seafood is totally safe to eat. He was speaking during a trip to inspect shrimp farms in Nakhon Pathom yesterday.

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