Thailand’s shrimp export is expected to drop strongly this year due to the dual problem of early mortality syndrome ( EMS ) in shrimps and a strong domestic currency.

President of the Thai Frozen Foods Association Poj Aramwattananont made the forecast after his meeting with Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom on May 3.

According to the president, the country’s shrimp production is expected to drop this year from the normal 500,000 tonnes valued at 80 billion THB to less than 400,000 tonnes.

Because of EMS , production had dropped by 40 percent from the normal level of 100,000 tonnes to only 57,000 tonnes in the first quarter, he said, adding that the impact of the disease is worse than previously thought.

If the baht stays at the level of 28 against the US dollar, shrimp export will drop seriously. This would affect not only exporters but also shrimp farmers, Poj added.

The association called on the government to set aside a budget from the Farm Policy and Assistance Measures Committee to help small shrimp farmers and exporters gain more liquidity. It also asked for soft loans, extending the export period and more credit for exporters.-VNA