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ผู้เขียน หัวข้อ: Taiwan grouper breeders see booming market after ECFA  (อ่าน 2547 ครั้ง)
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« เมื่อ: สิงหาคม 03, 2010, 11:31:18 AM »

Source: Focus Taiwan  World News    2/08/2010 21:09:09
 

A grouper breeder under a bright sun in Linbian Township, in southern Taiwan's Pingtung County, works hard with an excavator to dredge the massive amount of mud that silted up his ten-hectare pond during Typhoon Morakot last August, but waves of excitement sweep over him thanks to the prospects of a huge Chinese market worth up to NT$100 billion (US$3.1 billion) annually.



He is not alone. Many grouper breeders in neighboring Chiatung and Tungkang townships, who originally did not want to recover their damaged grouper farms, are now busy rebuilding their ponds in the hope that they will be in time to grab the market opportunity after groupers were listed as one of Taiwan's farm items to be given zero tariff treatment in the cross-Taiwan Strait economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) signed June 29.



President Ma Ying-jeou said Taiwan is set to become the world's largest grouper producer, since its possesses the key factors -- breeding expertise, suitable climate and proximity to China.



Huang Tsai-tuan, chairman of the Pingtung Aquaculture Association, said Taiwan produces 18,000 tons of groupers of various species worth NT$3.5 billion (US$110 million) per year, 90 percent of which are shipped to Hong Kong and the Chinese coastal provinces of Guangdong and Fujian just opposite Taiwan.



ECFA will, among other thing, help Taiwan get into the grouper market in Beijing, Shanghai and other parts of China with the increasingly strong consumer power there, Huang said.



Tai Kun-Tsai, who is dubbed "king of the groupers, " said that currently, nine out of about the 200 species of groupers are successfully raised in aquaculture ponds, with farming expertise for eight of them developed and controlled by Taiwanese.



Tai began raising leopard coral groupers, a high priced species, in Malaysia six years ago, with all of his major markets in China. But now he is moving his business back to Taiwan to take advantage of the shorter transport distance between Taiwan and China, as well as the tariff benefits.



"How can I miss the opportunity to make money since the market demand for leopard coral grouper has been rising in Hong Kong and China, while supplies of the fish from the Philippines and Australia has been declining."



The market for leopard coral groupers has reached as high as NT$10 billion in Hong Kong alone, not to mention the big cities in China, according to Tai, who said his new farm in Pingtung's Fanliao Township will begin supplying 32,000 leopard coral groupers a year from now, earning him NT$32 million per year.



On Ma's worries that Taiwan's unique expertise in raising groupers might be stolen or reproduced by foreign competitors in China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia, a confident Huang said that "President Ma can rest easy, as nowhere in the world is more suitable than Taiwan for raising groupers in terms of climate."



Temperatures are too high to raise groupers in most Southeast Asian counties, while China can afford to raise the fish only in the period between June and November as it is too cold for groupers during the rest of the year.



In contrast, Taiwan's climate allows groupers to be bred year-round, while the country also has superior expertise in breeding the fish, Huang said.



However, that does not necessarily mean that Taiwan's grouper farmers are on a fast track to success without a hitch.



Grouper breeders have long been troubled by indovirus and nervous necrosis virus among their stocks, according to Huang and Tai.



Huang said that Taiwan, which was once dubbed "the kingdom of the grass shrimp" saw the complete collapse of its grass shrimp industry as result of viral infection, and this time, viruses are threatening the grouper industry.



"We (grouper breeders) have successfully developed grouper breeding expertise but we have no way of controlling viral infection but to seek help from relevant government agencies, " Tai said.



For his part, Council of Agriculture Minister Chen Wu-hsiung said the government has stepped up efforts to develop vaccines against the viruses that have plagued local grouper farmers for nearly a decade.



Chen said the council's Fisheries Administration has appropriated NT$10.43 million to promote the development of the vaccines, while National Taiwan Ocean University has also been given NT$10.5 million to conduct research on the viruses and aquaculture technology.



Chen noted that the viruses have long existed and that the COA activated an inter-government agency project to develop vaccines about five years ago, although none have yet been produced.



"At present, there is a locally developed bio test kit that can detect if the fish has been infected with virus, which operators can use to monitor and manage their fish ponds," Chen added.



"I believe that the grouper vaccine is just a step away and that by the time it reaches the market, Taiwan will still have no competitors in the grouper business," Huang said.



For Tai, meanwhile, virus or no virus, the outlook for his business in Taiwan is looking rosy, with the advantages
 
 

 
 
 

 

 
 


Source or related URL: http://focustaiwan.tw
 
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