ANALYSIS - Sino Agro Foods has announced that its planned prawn farm complex will culture shrimp and prawns from hatchery to grow-out and packing all on its giant complex. With production expected to start in the second quarter of 2015, the farm will sell initially to the Chinese market and then for export, writes Lucy Towers, TheFishSite Editor.
The vast farming complex in in Nanlang Town, Zhongshan City, Guangdong Province, will be home to Mexican Whites (Penaeus Vannamei) and LawZi prawns (Macrobrachium Rosenbergli) at a 50:50 ratio.
A spokesperson for the company stated that they expect to sell shrimp at RMB 60,000 per metric ton, and prawns at RMB 80,000 per metric ton.
With a staggering production estimate of 300,000 metric tons, the company stated it hopes to reach this figure after ten years of production. The company has set a production target of 10,000 metric tons for the first two years, 30,000 metric tons in three years and 100,000 metric tons in five years.
Ultimately, production could be even higher, depending on the success of each respective phase, financial and operational performance and the marketability of the product.
Despite the large production volumes, the farm is not expected to have much effect on the local market. According to the company, the first 50,000 metric tons produced is not expected to have any impact on the current market, as China produces around 1.6 million metric tons with domestic sales amounting to 1.3 million metric tons. It is also estimated that in three to five years’ time there will be a supply shortage of approximately 800,000 metric tons, a gap which the Sino Agro farm hopes to fill.
With an increasing need for more food to feed a growing population, Sino Agro Foods believes its system provides the most efficient and ecologically sustainable technology to produce disease free prawns using much less space and water than other systems.
The farming system prides itself in being 100 per cent sustainable, as the shrimp/prawns are born, bred and grown in a closed indoor Re-circulating Aquaculture System (RAS).
Sino Agro Foods' A Power Re-circulating Aquaculture System and Technology (APRAS) uses indoor tanks that re-circulate fresh water at a rate of 60 times an hour. As a closed system, it has low mortality rates of less than eight per cent and is less susceptible to the introduction of disease, meaning little or no risk of Early Mortality Syndrome.
APRAS also uses a thermal exchanger to maintain the temperature within the tank and a built-in oxygen ventilator to maintain oxygen levels. There is a microbial device in the tank that will digest soluble waste as well as an isolation module that separates non-soluble waste and an ultraviolet and ozone system that purifies sewage.
A spokesperson for the company even stated that the water is clean enough to drink and has been drunk in demonstrations.
Most importantly, RAS is a green farming system since it does not require chemicals or antibiotics to recycle the water. Around 99.75 per cent of water within the tank can be recycled while the excrements of aquatic products can be used as organic fertilizer. It is these qualities which will also allowed the farm to use hydroponics to grow fruit and vegetables alongside the shrimp/prawns.
This staggering project will also benefit the local community through the creation of 145,000 peripheral and direct jobs, a guaranteed sufficient food supply and an increase in local incomes - as direct employee jobs should have an average salary 25 per cent higher than average urban resident of Zhongshan and 100 per cent higher than the average rural resident.
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