Potential for increase in local prawn production

The Ministry of Fisheries is hosting the Prawn/Shrimp Conference at King Prawns Fiji Ltd today. Picture: FILE

THE Ministry of Fisheries is hosting the Prawn/Shrimp Conference at King Prawns Fiji Ltd at Lomaiwai, Nadroga today.

This is the second time the ministry is hosting the conference with the minister Semi Koroilavesau opening it.

Prawn or shrimps is one of the most commonly farmed species in the world and it is also of high value and is commonly traded by the hotel and tourism sector in Fiji.

A recent report From the Farm to the Tourist’s Table which is a study of fresh produce demand from Fiji’s hotels and resorts tabled in August revealed that of the top five imported meat and seafood products, prawns or shrimps fall second in line to beef.

The report also stated that last year alone hotels and resorts in Fiji’s main tourism areas imported 92,922 kilograms of prawns or shrimps at an imported price of $32 per kilogram which amounted to $2,973,490.

The report also stated that there is potential for increased local production for prawns or shrimps and they would be purchased locally at $35 per kilogram which means locally farmed prawns or shrimps would cost more than the imported ones if we produced them locally.

It further states that priority for important substitution and feasibility of local production for prawns or shrimps is high and that total percentage imports of volume demand stands at above 80 per cent.

“While there are some locally farmed saltwater and freshwater prawns available, there is a need to further analyse and understand the opportunities for import substitution,” the report states.

“The tourism industry consumes a large amount of imported prawns or shrimps and these are mainly imported frozen. “While there are some locally grown prawns available in the market, suppliers have not been able to fully penetrate the hotel market,” the report states.

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