In 1978, the Chacheongsao Fisheries Station began experimenting with Artemia culture, acknowledging both the importance of brine shrimp eggs to Thailand' growing aquaculture industry and the potential for commercial production of cysts in the country. Sight selection for the first experimental pond was made in Cholburi Province where a modified salt flat was innoculated with nauplii from Brazilian and San Francisco strains simultaneously. Allowing the pond's salinity ot increase from solar evaporation, oviparous behavior developed, producing small qauntities of cysts which floated to the surface and collected in corners of the pond. Cysts, gathered several times each week, were delivered to the Fisheries Station for processing. Using uncomplicated but effective washing and drying techniques, Staion personnel achieved high hatching efficiencies (reported 90–98%) from the experimentally produced cysts (Anand Tunsutapanich, 1979) A general history of the brine shrimp industry is given in Annex 22.
By May 1980, several salt farmers in the Chacheongsao, Cholburi, and Samut Songkram Provinces were approached by the station management and encouraged to permit expanded cyst production experiments on their land. Largely uninformed as to the biological functions of Artemia and the requirements for cysts in aquaculture, the farmers were reluctant to cooperate. However, once the immediate value of properly cultured and processed eggs was established, approximately eleven farms consented to pond innoculation. By August 1980, four months of intermittant production on approximately 35 rai (all farms, including the starting period) yielded 600 kg wet weight of cysts, which were processed to 300 kg dry weight.
With the assistance of a private trading company, most of the 600 kg was purchased directly from the farms at Baht350/kg wet weight (Us417.50), irrespective of quality. The firm's willingness to assume the financial risk of purchasing a yet unrefined product was of major importance to the development plan, creating incentive to the farmers for participation. Coupled with the technological assistance and processing services of the Chacheongsao Fisheries Station, a developmental relationship among producers, processors and marketeers evolved.
During the last five years, worldwide demand for Artemia cysts (excluding hobbyist use) has risen at an average of 15% per year. Based on a comercial user study (Aquafauna, 1980), cyst requirements in 1975 were approximately 23 metric tons and, by 1980, demand had increased to 46 metric tons (Table 2).
WORLD DEMAND FOR ARTEMIA CYSTS, 1980
(Aquaculture use only)
|Asia, including Pacific Rim||13.5|
|U.S.S.R.||N/A (not available)|
Prior to 1977, aquaculturists relied heavily on three commercial sources of Artemia cysts, and during the 1975–77 period, users faced severe shortages of high quality cysts testing at 70% or higher hatchability. High prices, accompanying the shortage in suplly, caused some hatcheries to cease operations. As a result of these problems, interest in expanding the supply of cysts grew rapidly, by intensifying the harvest of existing natural salt lakes and by developing new sources of cyst. What followed in early 1977, was the successful innocualtion of the Macau, Brazil salinas with 250 g of the San Francisco Bay Artemia strain. Within three months, the culture of Artemia had spread by natural land bridge to over 24,000 rai of solar evaporation ponds.
By September 1977, six metric tons of cysts (dry weight) had been harvested and processed. The salt works demonstrated continued cyst production during 1978 and 1979, with approximately 14 metric tons being collected.
During 1979, the world supply for Artemia cysts was estimated to be 95 metric tons of product with a hatching performance of 50% or better. Here, “hatchability” is defined as a percentage calculated by dividing the number of free swimming nauplii per gram obtained (after 48 hrs), by the number of dry cysts per gram as measured before hatching (Annex 23). The supply of 70% hatchability stocks was estimated at 35 metric tons (Table 3).
WORLD SUPPLY OF ARTEMIA CYSTS IN METRIC TONS, 1979
|Source||Minimum 50% Hatchability||Minimum 70% Hatchability1|
1 Also included in 50% Hatchability column.
Source: Aquafauna, Inc. - 1979.
To highlight another recent change impacting the commercial supply of quality cysts, Utah, during the 1978–79 production years, showed marked improvement in quality as compared to the Lakes output for the preceding 12 years. The changes are attributed to a better raw stock produced by cyclical climatic changes and improvements in processing techniques.
Today, in terms of total supply and demand for Artemia cysts, no shortage of product exists. A trend which has developed recently, however, is the noted preference of hatcheries to use particular strains of nauplii in larval rearing. Based on data obtained from the International Study on Artemia and the Artemia Reference Center, Artemia from some sources yielded better or worse larval growth and survival rates than did nauplii of other sources for certain species of fish and crustacea. Consequently, to commercial users of cysts today, nauplii size, ease of shell separation, and biochemical composition of the nauplii are equally important as are factors of price, hatchability, and availability.
When these six characteristics are diliberated by the aquaculturist, several factors influence the importance he places on specific features of the cysts; namely, a) the species that is being cultured, b) the buyer's ease of sourcing a substitute product, and c) the ability to economically trade-off one product trait for another. These six product characteristics are described briefly:
Hatchability: A percentage; the number of hatched free swimming nauplii from a unit weight (one gram) of cysts divided by the number of dry cysts of the same unit weight after 48 hours of incubation (some laboratories use 24, 32, 36, 40, and 44 hours for their testing, which is a function of testing methodologies and temperature of the incubation solution).
Price: The F.O.B. supplier warehouse price or total C.I.F. landed cost at destination. The selection of either is usually part of the business negotiation process or stipulated exporter's terms.
Availability and Product Consistency: The lead time necessary to secure adequate supply and the dependability of the supplier to provide consistant product qualities from shipment to shipment.
Bio–Chemical Composition: Extracted from Artemia nauplii, the percentages or parts per million (or billion) of nutrient levels (proteins, lipids, etc.,) and chemical toxins (pesticide residue, chlorinated hydrocarbons, heavy metals, etc.).
Nauplii Size: The average species naupiar length (in microns) usually measured at 24 to 48 hours (when nauplii become free swimming).
Ease of Separation and Handling: The manpower requirements to set up and maintain repeated commercial size hatches (does the cyst require chlorination, pretreatment, etc.,), and on completion of the hatch cycle, the amount of time required and the degree of difficulty to separate the nauplii from spent egg casings and unhatched cysts.
To put these features in some perspective, Table 4 compares the significance placed on each characteristic (priority) by various aquacultural groups raising different species (Aquafauna, Inc. - 1980) :
ARTEMIA CYST FEATURE APPRAISAL BY PRIORITY OF PERCEIVED IMPORTANCE
|(Macrobrachium)||(Penaeus)||(Botton Fish: Sole Flounder)|
|1) Hatch/Ease||1) Ease||1) Bio|
|2) Price||2) Hatch||2) Size|
|3) Avail/Size||3) Avail||3) Price/Hatch|
|4) Bio||4) Price/Bio/Size||4) Avail/Ease|
|1) Hatch/Price||1) Ease||1) Hatch/Price|
|2) Bio/Avail||2) Hatch/Avail||2) Bio|
|3) Size/Ease||3) Bio/Price||3) Size/Avail/Ease|
|Legend: Hatchability = Hatch, Price = price, Availability and Consistency = Avail, Nauplii = Size, Bio-Chemical Composition = Bio, Ease of Separation = Ease.|
Interestingly, all but one of the characteristics rated in Table 4 can be tested fairly quickly. Hatchability, ease of separation, and nauplii size may be determined upon receipt of the product. The decision making process for price and perception of availability is made even before delivery is initiated. However, the bio–chemical effects of individual cyst batches from known sources often take weeks or months to assess and the procedures are often too costly or complex for hatchery analysis. In the case of cyst contamination, although nauplii may not cause immediate mortality in the predator larvae, abnormalities and mortalities could occur later when the larvae undergo metamorphosis or weaning, and body tissues release accumulated toxins rapidly.
On the subject of toxicity, however, it must be emphasized that a source of cysts should not be condemned forever for producing one or more batches of “contaminated” product. Most species' larvae tolerate some
Level, methods of production and design were implemented in ponds used for salt production. Social considerations presented barriers since much of the salt production occurs on small land holdings, with farmers fearing that experimental changes would affect salt production levels. With cooperation and assurances from the Chacheongsao Fisheries Station, the first design implemented was a 30 cm trench system where an intermediate pond (in the series of salt production ponds) was trenched along its peripery. This allowed better thermo-regulation for the Artemia since a larger mass of water takes longer to heat up or cool down than does a smaller mass. Water is evaporated over a wide range in the same pond before being transferred to other ponds for further evaporation. Optimum salinity is attained at some level of evaporation which fosters bio–mass production of Artemia. With application of fertilizers, population density is maximized given other favorable ecosystem factors such as density and type of nutrient, dissolved oxygen, temperature and pH.
During 1980, some 35 rai were innoculated in various stages, producing 600 kg of wet cysts. This production averaged 4 kg wet cyst per rai per month. (25 kg/ha/month). The pond design employed is characterized as a Static System type (Annex 24) and is used extensively in salt production where the dry season may be short or where land holdings are limited. Sea water is allowed to evaporate in an enclosed pond, achieving salinity changes up to 80 parts per thousand before being transferred to higher salinity ponds for continued wide–range evaporation. This type of system contains inherent disadvantages for maximum cyst production. While the Artemia population is able to adapt sufficiently well to salinity changes at the lower ranges (below 150 parts per thousand), the food chain supporting the population will undergo several culture changes. It is known that Artemia will survive on a variety of cultures; however, certain algal groups tend to foster population blooms while others do not readily contribute the same nutritional attributes. In more efficient cyst production systems, salinity is held relatively constant so that the Artemia population and food chain can better establish and maintain themselves. The static system ponds currently in production, cost an average of ฿2,400 per rai to manually construct (Annex 25). Using mechanical means, this cost can be reduced by half to about ฿1,250 (all trenching 2 meters wide).
Two alternative systems are recommended to improve the efficiency of cyst production. Both systems are by–product operations working off salt evaporation ponds. First, the Modified Two Stage System (Annex 26) is a series of two ponds which manages and maintains salinity at relative constant levels. The first stage is usually held at salinities conducive to bio-mass production in the range of 80–100 parts per thousand. The second stage provides the trigger mechanism for oviparous behavior with salinity levels up to 50% higher than the first stage. Population transfers between the two ponds should be by continuous flow, the rate of which is equal to maintain the salinity difference of the second pond. Three major conditions are affected when bio–mass is delivered from stage one to stage two pond: a) salinity increases, b) dissolved oxygen decreases, and c) the food chain is disrupted. These abrupt environmental changes should present enough stimuli, which in total, work against oviviparous adaptation. The two stage system can be implemented in smaller salt farms currently containing four or more separate ponds. The design requires trenching both ponds, at least 30 cm around the periphery (by two meters wide). Manual construction costs for the modified two stage system is ฿4,800 per productive rai (Annex 25). The mechanical construction cost is about ฿2,500 per productive rai. The two stage system is estimated to contribute a 15% efficiency factor in syct production over static systems.
The second alternative for production efficiency is the Flow Through System, which can most practically be incoporated in larger salt farms having six or more ponds. By comparison. large scale cyst producing sources utilizing solar evaporation like Macua, Brazil and San Fracisco Bay, California are predicated on the flow through design for salt production efficiencies. Artemia culture is of secondary consideration and is strictly a by–product operation. The conceptual design allows a continuous flow of water which evaporates to higher salinities as it proceeds from one pond to the next. The flow rate of each pond is adjusted until the desired salinity of that pond can be maintained without stopping the flow process. This system requires some pond management and experimentation to determine the proper flows such that salt production is not sacrificed in favor of Artemia production. The ideal situation is to maximize both salt and cyst output (Annex 27).
Each flow through design has numerous characteristics that must be addressed. For example, evaporation rate may be a function of temperature, exposed surface area of the ponds, depth of the ponds, wind, etc.,. For San Francisco Bay, reported flow through time (time it takes seawater to evaporate to crystalization) is 3–3 ½ years due to latitude and other temperature conditions. For Macau, Brazil, the process is accomplished in about 7½ months even though the average depth of the evaporation ponds is three to four times that of San Francisco Bay.
Again, the objective of the flow through system is to continuously provide new bio–mass which can be stressed to trigger oviparous tendencies. Adapting this concept to existing salt pond requires trenching for thermo–regulation of the organisms. Like the two stage system, it is recommended that two ponds in the series of flow through ponds be modified for optimum bio–mass production. Relating this design to a 12 rai farm in Chacheongsao Province (Annex 28), ponds do not have to follow linear patterns to achieve flow through. Manual construction costs for the two pond modification should be the same as for the two stage system or ฿4,800 per productive rai. Mechanical construction costs are also the same at ฿2,500 per productive rai. Ideally, however, a more efficient bio–mass environment would be created if the first pond (primary bio–mass pond) were trenched to 60 cm producing enough excavated earth to heighten the berm and increase water depth in the trench to 1.5 meters. This option would increase construction costs by a third. It is estimated that flow through systems contribute up to 40% more efficiency in cyst production over the currently used static system and 22% more than the modified two stage system.
Currently, all Thai Artemia cyst processing is conducted at the Chacheongsao Fisheries Station. Procedures for washing and drying cysts were adopted by Station technicians from the literature and modified to suit local conditions. Although a given batch of product (50–75 kg wet weight) may take up to two man days drying time, cyst quality has attained acceptable levels (at least 70% or greater hatchability).
Wet drained cysts brought to the Station by farmers are first weighed for production statistical purposes and for subsequent financial reimbursement. The cysts are then rinsed through a two level sieve using seawater. The larger particles are trapped by the first sieve (300 micron mesh opening) and the finer waste particles and cysts are collected by the second sieve (150 micron opening). This preliminary separation and washing loosens and dissolves soluble wastes. A second density separation is performed using saturated brine. Approximately 5 kg of prewashed cysts are placed into an inverted 20 liter plastic water bottle (modified to extract product/waste through the inverted neck of the bottle). Ten liters of saturated brine solution are added and the solution is aerated for several minutes. Aeration is stopped and cysts/light debris are allowed to float to the top while heavy debris settles on the bottom and is discharged. Cysts are drained into a cloth sack and washed with fresh water for 4–5 minutes. After hand squeezing the sack for removal of water, cysts are spread out 2–3 cm thick on newspaper and sun dried. The product is turned 2–3 times each day.
During periods of rain, intermittant solar drying may take two days to reach a batch moisture level of 10%. When this level is attained (currently a subjective eye sight judgement), the cysts are collected and packed at the Station into 425 gram plastic bags or sealed in 425 gram tins by a private firm.
Distribution is being accomplished through a Thai trading company which currently purchased the majority of the processed cysts, paying the farmers on a wet (unprocessed) weight basis. Sold to Macrobrachium and Penaeus hatcheries throughout Thailand, the cysts are marketed as a Thai produced egg. While there are five strains of cysts distributed in Thailand today, the locally produced cysts enjoy the greatest demand among hatcheries and sell at the highest retail price. This is due primarily to a perceived quality gap (freshness, hatchability, marketing effort, etc.,) which the home product enjoys over the other imported strains.
Noting the growing interest in Thailand to produce Artemia cysts sufficient to meet local demand as well as for export potential, it is important to examine processing techniques which will accomodate larger quantities of production than are currently being handled. As mentioned earlier, two man days are required to finish processing 25 to 30 kg dry weight of cysts. With a minimum investment in screen mesh, concial 60 liter fiberglass bottle, and absorbant cloth tables, processing efficiencis can be increased three–fold (75–100 kg dry wieht per two man days), at an average processing cost of ฿3 per wet kg (Annex 29).
Based on weighed average of the Cholburi exerimental pond, overall production during 1979–1980 of 35 rai, and productivity estimates of Chacheongsao technicians, an average monthly yield per productive rai should be 8 kg wet weight of cysts. Wet weight to dry weight conversion is two to one (Tunsutapanich, 1979). The following procedures and recommendations are geared to the output of 250 productive rai (seven times the current production area). At the levels, if achived, this area would produce a processing inventory of 2,000 kg wet weight per month. Since Thailand benefits from low labor costs, recommendations will revolve around manual efficiencies rather than capital intensive systems. Economics of scale can be achieved by adding personnel cheaper than labor savings devices, especially during the experimental stages of development.
Cyst Collection: Artemia cysts should be collected everyday so that unexpected rainfall (or evening condensation where applicable) does not damage viable cysts. Normally, even a light breezer will push the floating eggs into one area of the pond; along a bank or in one corner. A fine net with mesh of 150 microns can be used to gather the cysts. To facilitate cyst processing, the farmer should be instructed to net only cysts and to avoid scooping up sand and other non–floating debris. If by nature of the bank design, or for any other reason this procedure is not practical, the pond bank where normal collections are made, may be lined with scrap wood, used polyethylene sheets, rocks, or burlap to mat down the loose soil or sand. Accumulated cysts should be placed into a cloth sack and submerged in a saturated brine vat until ready for processing. Under normal production, eggs should not be accumulated for more than two weeks before processing and all storage vats should be kept under cover from the rain.
Cyst Washing: Collected cysts should contain little debris, however, the amount is difficult to determine, especially if many farmers are involved. Therefore, both a saturated brine separation and a freshwater float–off method is suggested. If, through practice, the farmers learn to collect only floating cysts, however, as evidenced by the amount of heavy debris collected in the brine separator, brine separation may be discontinued for those sources (farms) of cyst production.
Cyst washing should be performed early in the day to maximize the number of available solar drying hours. This procedure is designed for a single worker washing 15 kg wet cysts with up to 10 wash cycles per day. First, a two level sieve (similar to the type used at Chacheongsao) should be utilized, capable of holding 15 kg wet weight on the bottom sieve. Mesh size for the top level should be about 300 microns and 150 for the bottom sieve. Screens should be constructed of stainless steel mesh for durability and stretched across stainless steel retainer rings. Wooden retainer may be used but with product weight, the sieves will be in excess of convenient handling weight. The sieves should not cost more than ฿1,200 to construct. With a constant flow of seawater, wash 15 kg of cysts through the top sieve, extracting larger debris, and collecting the finer particles and cysts in the lower sieve. This procedure should take approximately five minutes.
Second, transfer the 15 kg cysts into 30 to 40 liter of saturated brine in a 60 liter conical shaped container. The container construction cost is estimated to be ฿1,500 if constructed at the Fisheries Station. The container should drain at the bottom through a clear plastic hose. Aeration or agitation should separate heavy debris which will sink to the bottom and collect in the valved hose. This procedure should not require more than 10 minutes per 15 kg wash batch. Release heavy debris accumulated in the hose first then revalve. Further draining should collect the saturated brine for re–use several times. Drain the cysts into a cloth bag and rinse with clean saltwater to remove most of brine solution (one–two minutes).
Third, using the same conical container with 30 to 40 liters of freshwater, cysts are subjected to the final wash and separation where all light debris is floated off. Viable cysts will sink in freshwater while shells and light debris will float. The solution should be aerated near the container sides, allowing cysts to sink toward the cone apex. Aerate or agitate for 3 to 5 minutes; then allow the mixture to settle (stop aeration) for five minutes. Surface easte can be skimmed off or floated off with the careful addition of more freshwater to overflow the container without unsettling the cysts on the bottom of the container. The separated cysts should be drained into 4 cloth bags and gently squeezed to extract excess water.
Cyst Drying: The key to successful cyst processing is to remove as much moisture as possible from the freshly washed eggs in the least amount of time without burning or damaging the product. Acceleration of the drying process can be accomplished by using the centrifugal action of a clothes washing machine. Good condition used washing machines can be obtained in Thailand for less than ฿2,000.
Each of the four draining cloth bags containing cysts (3–4 kg each) should be sealed and hand flattened to the inner contour of the washing machine drum, each occupying a quadrant of the space. Setting the machine on the spin cycle, centrifuge for about 8–10 minutes. Upon completion, remove cysts from the sacks and spread the mass, 1 cm thick, onto muslin (or other highly absorbent cloth) which is stretched on farming bars and suspended off the ground. Approximately 3–4 square meters of this drying rack will be required for each 15 kg cycle. Product should be turned and rescattered on the rack two or three times during the day. Drying temperature should not exceed 50 degree Centigrade. Drying should continue until batch moisture falls to between 4 to 8% on a per wight basis (Annex 23). If drying time takes more than one day, cysts must be collected at sunset and stored in airtight container for the evening.
Packaging: Before the cysts are packaged for storage or for sale, batch should be tested (Annex 23), and the results recorded for statistical and sequential inventory control. It highly recommended that all cysts are packed in airtight sealed tins. Even if the majority of users are located within 250 kilometers of Bangkok, cyst quality over time tends to be protected, as well as transportation damage prevented, thus warranting the packing investment. All labels on tins should be coded and logged with the test performance of each processed batch. While this procedure may seem time consuming for the home market due to proximity of suppliers and user, it becomes exceedingly important for export sales and products stored as inventory.
A sampling of Macrobrachium hatcheries revealed that seven types of cysts are currently in use. While these seven may represent labeled brands, the generic sources of these cysts are limited to five locations: Thailand, California, Utah, Canada, and Brazil. Cysts from China were reported by one hatchery, but these are not readily available to most users. Retail prices for both imported and domestically produced cysts varied widely, ranging from ฿1,760 to ฿2,200 per kilogram.
Domestically produced cysts are generally priced at parity with imported cyst for several reasons: a) the Thai cyst is generally preferred due to a perception of “freshness” and being locally produced, b) the production of Thai cysts is limited and is hence in short supply, c) to effectively reach the small hatcheries, multiple distributors are often employed, each adding their commission to the sale price, and d) when comparing the raw cyst value to foreign production (that amount which is paid to farmers for unprocessed cysts), the per kilogram yield is high. High production cyst value is good for the farmer but tends to increase the retail price disportionately when other processing, marketing, and sales margins are computed.
The current pricing of Thai cysts, while being high by most country standards, adopts the substitute product (imported cyst) pricing structure. In addition, the price structure today does not fully allocated all cost in order to transform the raw production into a marketable product. All processing is being done for the farmers by the Chacheongsao Fisheries Station since the technology and equipment required to maintain quality control is too advanced for most producers. This service, while assisting in the development of the home industry, is still a subsidy, whose cost factors would normally be included as a price element if processing were accomplished in the private sector.
The marketing and sales margin of Thai cysts is three times that of production and processing costs. Normal sales margins for brine shrimp cysts would be a doubling of the processed value. Base on interview, however, distributors in Thailand run higher than normal risk (20%) due to non–payment for goods, since sales are often based on flexible credit terms to accomodate small hatcheries. Coupled with the smaller order size of each hatchery, administration costs for sales are generally higher.
If local production is unable to fulfil domestic demand, it is doubtful whether the current pricing structure will change. If, however, Thailand is successful in producing quantities in excess of local requirements, and the potential for export is realized, drastic changes in pricing must occur to position Thai cyst competitively on the world market. Of the six imported brands sold in Thailand, F.O.B. prices for cysts at origin (mostly from the United States and Canada) range from ฿350 to ฿970 per kilogram. These levels are also available to the general public in the home country. Similar levels must be adopted, at least for export production, if Thailand hopes to gain a foothold in the world market share.
A typical breakdown of margins and resulting revenue for salt farms is given in Table 5. below, comparing the current pricing structure and an export structure (see Annex 30, for assumptions).
COMPARISON OF THE CURRENT PRICING STRUCTURE
AND EXPORT STRUCTURE OF CYSTS
|Current Pricing of Thai Cysts Competitive with Imported Cysts||Proposed Export Price Competitive with Other World Producers|
|Price Paid to Farmers|
|Prcessing Loss Factor|
(reduction by 50%)
(includes multiple distributors)
Under competitive export pricing, the farmer is capable of earning ฿225 per processed kg of cysts produced. This represents a 36% reduction of the price they currently receive per kilogram of production.
Given the parameters of production and pricing for Artemia cysts in Thailand, a cost benefit analysis was conducted to determine whether a salt farmer could derive supplementary income from the culturing of brine shrimp for cysts. The production assumptions for Artemia are:
Season for production is six month (January to June)
Production is computed under three scenarios: Existing Static System, Modified Two Stage System, and Flow Through and for two different depth options: at 30 cm and at 60 cm (Annex 31)
Assumes by–product operation from a 30 rai salt evaporation farm with 5 productive rai engaged in cyst production
Revenue/Cost computation per productive rai per Annexes 32, 32.1, 32.2 and 32.3
No land cost allocated to Artemia by–product operations.
The income per rai from a 30 rai salt evaporation farm (Cholburi Province) was used as the basis for comparison. Crystalization occured over a 4 month productive period in six of the thirty rai, the remainder being considered as support ponds. Production for the season per rai contributed ฿9,600 from the output of 96,000 kg of salt. Whether all cost (land, labor, etc.,) were covered by revenues (฿10/ 100 kg) are not considered in this analysis.
The supplement of income (Table 6) indicates that a salt farmer can earn more than twice his current salt income by incoporating a 60 cm trench on a flow through system, providing the current price structure is applied. More realistically however, export pricing would yield the farmer about ฿13,500 in supplementary income per rai per season.
SUPPLEMENTAL INCOME MATRIX OF ALTERNATIVE PRODUCTION SYSTEMS PER RAI PER
SEASON, FULLY ALLOCATED COST, UNDER CURRENT AND EXPORT PRICING STRUCTURE1
(All Figures in Baht)
|Alternative Production Units:||Existing Static System||Modified Two Stage System||Flow Through System|
|For 30 cm Trench|
|a) Current Price, Cost not fully allocated||15,036||16,932||20,574|
|b) Export Pricing, Cost fully allocated, Competitive with foreign Cyst at Origin||9,036||10,032||12,174|
|For 60 cm Trench|
|a) Current Price, Cost not fully allocated||16,092||17,784||22,920|
|b) Export Pricing, Cost fully allocated, Competitive with foreign Cyst at Origin||9,492||10,134||13,620|
1 Assumes Pond modifications were constructed by mechanical means (Annex 32).
Thailand currently consumes about 1.5 metric tons of Artemia cysts per year. In 1980, home production fulfilled 20% of this requirement. Total consumption is primarily utilized in Macrobrachium, Penaeus and Sea Bass projects, while a minor share is used for general marine culture and laboratory study. Total C.I.F. value for the imported quantities of Brine shrimp eggs is estimated to be between ฿800,000 to ฿1,030,000. Given the rate of development in fisheries programs requiring Artemia, Table 7 forecasts Thailand's cyst utilization through 1985 (Reference Economic forecast on Macrobrachium)
ESTIMATED ARTEMIA CYST REQUIREMENT FOR THAILAND, 1981–1985
|Year||Metric Tons Required|
Note: Average utilization efficiency of Artemia equal 21,000 P.L. produced per kg of cyst (sample of nine hatcheries). Total use for Macrobrachium estimated at 50% of total Thailand requirement on annual basis. Penaeus/marine culture estimated at 50% of cyst consumption.
Based on existing production systems, Thailand would have achieved self sufficiency in 1980 with about 63 rai in production for the six month season. This level could also have been achieved with about 40 rai providing Flow Through Systems were incorporated. By 1981, it is estimated that there will be 125 rai in some stage of production. Coupled with increased utilization for aquaculture, the lead time for education of the salt farmers, improvements in processing capabilities, and general competitive factors, it is not anticipated that Thailand will be independent of imported cysts until 1983.
It should be recognized that as Thailand moves closer to supplying its own cyst requirements, the financial incentive to produce Artemia cysts will decrease, since the developing home supplier must adopt a more competitive pricing/cost structure as compared with other world producers. While producing cysts may prove to be financially viable in the short run, Thai farms will be competing with lower cost production systems in the long run. Even if export quantities are achieved and priced competitively, market share for equivalent product does not usually come free, but as a result of being bought upon initial introduction. In most industries, the established producers will follow any pricing action to maintain their market share and in the end, the cost of production, reputation, and diversity of product lines (versus product dependence) will dictate the opportunity investment decision. These factors become finacially inhibitory as long as there is greater supply of cysts than exist the demand for them. The ability to hold cysts in inventory for several years until climatical conditions or aquacultural growth oreate a demand, usually support projects with the lowest capital requirements. Unfortunately, this is characteristic of the industry, since most of the commercially viable production sites produce yearly stocks of more than 20 metric tons- irrespective of the world demand.