Fund Helps Finance Responsible Shrimp Farming25 April 2013
GLOBAL - In order to help shrimp farmers finance a transition towards responsible shrimp production, a Farmers in Transition (FIT) Fund has been launched by the Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH) at the European Seafood Exposition in Brussels.
Responsible production will reduce negative impacts on the environment and local communities, while complying with food safety requirements. The US-based David and Lucile Packard Foundation has indicated its interest to develop a partnership in support of the FIT Fund.
Shrimp is one of the most popular types of seafood. Approximately five million tons are consumed annually. One-third of the shrimp we eat are farmed. Shrimp production boomed in the 80s and 90s in Thailand, Indonesia, India and Viet Nam, because of growing demand from the US, Europe and Japan.
The rapid growth has generated substantial income in these countries, but at the same time generated some serious sustainability challenges such as damage to ecologically sensitive habitat (e.g. mangrove deforestation), land grabbing, water pollution, banned antibiotics residues and social issues with workers and/or communities.
Ted van der Put, programme director Aquaculture at IDH stated: "Responsible shrimp production will not only safeguard the environment and improve social performance of shrimp farmers; it will also help future proof the sector. An increasing number of retailers and food service companies formulate sustainable buying requirements. Shrimp farmers and traders that can’t meet these requirements may well be out of business in a couple of years."
The FIT Fund has a co-funding capacity of four million to help farmers make the transformation towards more responsible practices. The Fund is actively reaching out to other organisations to strengthening the Fund and widening its scope.
Mr Van der Put continued: "We applaud the interest of Packard in the Fund because they bring critical assets to the table such as a wealth of experience in financing fisheries improvement programmes and a strong field-based comprehensive strategy on aquaculture. IDH feels this type of partnership will help position the FIT Fund as a key coordinating platform to drive change and impact, by enlarging the supply base of farmers and by sharing best practices to increase scale and reduce costs."
Speaking on behalf of the Packard Foundation, Lisa Monzón commented: "We are pleased to publically signal our support of the development of IDH's FIT Fund. We have been a long time sponsor of multi-sector initiatives that can produce positive outcomes for the environment. IDH brings significant experience in shaping successful public-private partnerships across a range of commodities to support producers in strengthening environmentally friendly production practices. We look forward to seeing both market and industry commitment grow for this important initiative."
Traders, processors and farmers may hand in project proposals to help farmers transition towards more responsible shrimp production. If the proposal meets the FIT Fund criteria the Fund may offer technical support and may co-finance shrimp farmers’ efforts to improve performance and comply with responsible aquaculture standards such as Global Gap, GAA/BAP and ASC.
TheFishSite News Desk