Surin Kaewmek is a Tenant Shrimp Farmer near Ranote in Thailand.


How much do you and your family earn for a living?

Now is a difficult time for earning a living. Jobs are less available.

Please tell me what is the occupation of you and your wife?

I work as an employee in the shrimp farm. My wife also works as a housewife, she gets 2,000 to 3,000 bahts per month, but not more than 3,000 bahts.

Can you tell me your income salary and also as a percentage of shrimp production?

I get 7,000 bahts per month from my salary. The income from percentage is not fixed and depends on the production. If we get good production, I get a good percentage, but if the production is low, my percentage is also low. Usually, the percentage is two bahts from each kilogram of production.

I have seen you go fishing. Is that for your own consumption or for a sale?

That is for myself, but sometimes I also give to friends who ask for it. It is not for sale.

Have you ever compared your current occupation with your former occupation?

In the former time, I could live, but the economics were not good. I used to be both a rice farmer and fisherman. Now I work in the shrimp farm. The income is not certain; it depends on the number of ponds that I take care of. If there is only one pond, my income could be small. If I take care of two ponds the income is better. The percentage I get, also does not ascertain. Some shrimp farm owners give one percentage, some give one bath per kilogram, and some give two baths per kilogram.

When you said the economics were not good, you mean that it was difficult to get money, right?

Yes, it was difficulty to get money. Before, I got a lower income. Now I get higher income but the expenses are also higher. Before, I could grow my own vegetables. Now, I can't. There is also no space to grow.

Why can't you grow vegetables?

The vegetables cannot survive with the humid from saline pond water. Also, the weather is very hot here.

Have you ever had a problem with chemicals used on the shrimp farm? What about the environmental or health problems?

Some chemicals are dangerous, so we have to know how to avoid it. For example, if you inhale formalin, it can make you lose your breath. Instead of casting formalin into the pond, you better siphon it with a rubber tube. You have to find a way to avoid its exposure to air.

How about the impact of chemicals to the environment?

Yes, chemicals have impacts. If you use a lot of chemicals, it has proportionate impacts.

Can you give an example?

If you use a lot of chemicals, there will be a lot of residue. The same is true for shrimp. They are not healthy if you treat them with a lot of chemicals.

How about your family? How many children do you have? How old are they? Do you have enough to support your children? What do you expect for their future?

I do think of my children but there are so many other things to think about.

What do you expect for the future of your children? Do you have enough to support your children? What is your dream for the future of your children?

I have five children. The oldest is almost 16 years old. Now he is in the tenth grade. The second kid does not go to school. The third one is in the fourth grade. The other two are in the second grade. They were born different years but attend school in the same year.

What occupation do you want your children to have in the future?

I want my children to grow up and get better job than me. I want them to be better than me.

With your current job, do you have enough to support your children to school?

I can't afford to send all my kids to school. My budget is so tight. I can just pay the expenses. I can't send all of my five kids to school. Even though my wife and I are both working, we don't have enough money. I have to work here while the family is at home. It looks like we have two families. We have to spend the money in both places.