The Commerce Ministry’s Department of Internal Trade (DIT) is preparing to provide assistance to shrimp farmers in the wake of the 14-day lockdown in Samut Sakhon, a major seafood production base for seafood products, to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Wattanasak Sur-iam, the department’s director-general, said that based on talks with concerned parties, including health officials and those in the shrimp supply chain, there is a daily excess of 100 tonnes of shrimps to be managed.
Following the lockdown in the province, shrimp farmers are concerned about where to sell their products.
Mr Sur-iam said the DIT will find new markets for shrimp farmers to sell their products at and has sought cooperation from various players, including the Thai Restaurant Association and supermarkets at retail stores.
However, he will also ask shrimp farmers to postpone harvesting for the time being to avoid surpluses.
Poj Aramwattananont, president of the Thai Frozen Foods Association and vice chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, said the outbreak linked to the shrimp market may cause a decline in demand.
He urged all parties concerned to promote understanding about the spread of the virus to make sure it does not destroy consumer confidence.
According to Mr Aramwattananont, finding markets for shrimp farmers can also help stabilise prices.
Vicharn Ingsrisawang, deputy director-general of the Fisheries Department, assured that shrimps and seafood products are safe for consumption when they are properly cooked.
He said what is important is that people handling the products must observe disease control measures.
Kanchit Hemarak, president of the Thai shrimp farmers, said the impact from the current outbreak is still limited and the association is assessing the financial damage.
Thanavath Phonvichai, president of the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC), said the economic hit from the outbreak could be limited unless a nationwide lockdown is imposed.