SURINAME shows huge technical possibilities for the development of marine shrimp culture even if the activity is presently non-existent in the country. Furthermore, the activity will be financially very profitable and competitive on the international market provided the future farms be industrial and big (minimum size : 250– 300 ha of ponds per farm).
During the mission the Consultants team could hold various discussions with high ranking officers. It is clear the Government does not intend to be involved in the production sector but only to promote the development of shrimp culture in Suriname.
As promoter of the activity its main tasks could be :
A - On short term :
- To implement and run successfully one pilot-demonstration farm. That farm, in the future, could be operated not as a demonstration unit but as one training center.
B - On medium and long terms
- To encourage with adequate means (loans, land occupation license, etc…) the implementation of large industrial farms instead of small semi-industrial units which will not be competitive on the international shrimp market.
- To reduce the percentage of foreign component in the shrimp production cost. The most efficient way will be to start research programs aiming at incorporating more and more local raw materials in the shrimp feed (feed accounts for 36 % of the total production cost).
- To reduce the dependence from imported wild juveniles as industrial hatcheries cannot be implemented in Suriname (no suitable sites as regards the present technology). One of the possibilities appears to be the involvement of the Suriname Government as shareholder (eventually main shareholder) in hatcheries built abroad (Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, but also the caribbean islands such as French West Indies, Grenada, etc…).
Anyway, on short term the objective is to build and run successfully the demonstration plant. To achieve this objective there are 2 major constraints :
1 - To have the right input of foreign know-how with an adapted technical assistance programme. This programme should cover both the engineering (design and construction supervision) and the production (production/demonstration and then training) phases. An agreement was signed in November 1986 between the Suriname Government and the F.A.O. In the contract, the F.A.O. agrees to finance a technical assistance programme with one civil engineer (2 man-months), one aquaculturist (12 man-months) and one feed-technologist (1 man-month). In our point of view the 12 man-months of aquaculturist are too short. During the year of assignment the aquaculturist will concentrate his activities on starting the operation and on the technical demonstration : it means he will focuse on the production sector. He will not have time to train efficiently the local staff. For that reason, we suggest the assignment of the aquaculturist should be increased from 12 man-months to 24 man-months.
As regards the 2 man-months of civil engineer : Provided the detailed construction drawings and daily construction supervision be performed by an efficient local engineering company (private or Government owned), the 2 man-months of foreign civil engineer are sufficient. However, during his assignment, he will act as a supervisor. For instance :
-- During the engineering phase (suggested assignment period : 6 weeks), he will work in Suriname in close coordination with the local engineers and draftsmen for the preparation of the construction drawings.
-- During the construction phase (suggested assignment period : 2 weeks), he will prepare on the field with the local daily supervisor, the final details and modifications.
2 - In the present economic situation and with the shortage of foreign currency ; the project will fail if it is not financially planned (mainly as regards the future needs of foreign currency for both the construction and operating costs).
To solve this urgent problem we suggest a short mission be performed in the coming weeks. It will aim at :
-- Estimating in details the construction cost of the demonstration farm with a breakdown in local and foreign currencies ;
-- Preparing a detailed operation budget for the 2 first years of production. Here too, a detailed breakdown in local and foreign currencies is obligatory.
For that objective, 1 civil engineer and 1 economist during 1 week in Suriname and 1 week in office (total 4 manweeks) are sufficient.