Business

Cabinet approves loan scheme for shrimp farmers

  • NAQDA seeks to increase production by 50,000 MT by 2025
  • Loan to support requisite capital investment

The Cabinet of Ministers on 1 November granted approval to the resolution put forward by Minister of Fisheries Douglas Devananda to implement a concessionary loan scheme through state banks to provide shrimp farmers with the necessary capital in order to fulfil the objective of encouraging vannamei shrimp farming. 

The Sri Lanka National Aquaculture Development Authority (NAQDA) has planned to escalate the local shrimp production, which was approximately 8,000 metric tonnes (MT) in the year 2020 by 50,000 MT by the year 2025. 

Vannamei shrimp farming was introduced with the objective of escalating local shrimp production in the years 2019 and 2020. This form of shrimp farming generates higher harvest due to accelerated speed of their growth, decreased probability of being exposed to diseases, and capability to farm under higher stocking density when farming/growing within ponds. 

Further to that, this species of shrimps can be grown under three seasons during one year.

However, this form of shrimp farming requires farmers to make significant capital investment as it is essential to modify the traditional mud ponds with a heavy density polyethylene cover in order to extract and remove the higher amount of organic waste stagnating within the pond due to operating this farm under higher density. 

Moreover, it is important to increase the storing capacity for exporting the shrimp harvest which will increase parallelly, as well as to modify the shrimp processing centres for processing value added productions with modern technology.

Vannamei shrimp farming refers to farming of an exotic shrimp Litopenaeus vannamei, which is a genetically modified shrimp that is not endemic to Sri Lanka.

Speaking to The Morning last year, The Pearl Protectors Co-ordinator Muditha Katuwawala claimed that while vannamei prawns themselves may be unaffected by their presence in our ecosystem, it represents a violation of the Flora and Fauna Protection Ordinance, and could have a far-reaching environmental impact.

Shrimp production is a form of marine aquaculture. Shrimps are the second most traded seafood commodity in the world, exporting $ 11 billion – 15% of the worldwide seafood business. Locally, shrimp exports make up about 50% of Sri Lankan fisheries’ export income, bringing about $ 25 million in revenue. Sri Lanka’s biggest customers are Japan, the US, and the EU.