Verapun Preechakul is a Shrimp Farmer in Tumbol Mai Phad, Amphur Si Kao, Ban Chang Lung in Thailand.


Can you tell us a little bit about your last crop?

I started my last crop in November. After nearly a month, the shrimp were infected with the disease "red body and white spot". So I could not harvest at all. I had to destroy all the infected shrimp.

How did you learn not to expand too much for assured survival? Please talk about your plan for the next crop.

I try not to hurry with the expansion of too many ponds. I may increase just only one or two ponds. If I gain the profit from one crop I will save it for the next crop that I might lose. I saw many shrimp farmers, once they got profit, spend the money for expanding several ponds and then they failed the next crop. They most likely lacked the money to continue the following crop. For me, if I want to expand my ponds I will do just only one or two. I do not want to be very rich.

Why are using probiotics and what is the approach?

I had experience using antibiotics when I started my farm. I found that the results were not clear. After that, I realized that if the disease occurred, the antibiotic could not help at all. Finally I stopped using antibiotics and turned to using probiotics. I think it is good. It is natural and good for environment. It should be good in the long run.

What do you do to start it up again and where does the water go?

After the shrimp problem, I kept water for sometime then treated it with a chemical to kill all the disease carriers. After the chemical dissipated then I could discharge the water out of the pond. The bottom soil was exposed to be sun dried and then was tilled back and forth. I kept the bottom dry longer than the usual one to two months; I did it for two to three months. Then we could pump water into the pond.

Let's talk about the last crop in detail.

I forgot to tell you that usually after each crop, I had to move out the sludge that deposited in the middle of the pond. But for the last crop, we had a problem after less than one month, so we had little sludge. I had to till and dry the bottom soil only.

After you discovered that the shrimp were not well, how did you deal with that?

After my farm had a problem with the disease, I tried to solve the problem by keeping the bottom soil dry for a longer period of time and do the same thing with the water. I thought, by this technique, it should work.

How do you describe the change you went through over the last six years?

I think the risk is higher now; it is more difficult to raise shrimp. The disease is prevailing and even worst, the growth rate is lower. The shrimp price has been affected too. I think the risk is now much higher than before.

You used probiotics for quite a long time. Do you think it allowed you to have better survival compare with the chemical? Are more farms adopting this technique?

I think with bacteria, or any natural products, there are less negative impacts. The same can be said for the use of herbal medicine compared with chemical medicine. For chemicals, if you misuse it, the impact is high. For herbal medicine, the impact is less; the only thing you have to lose is money. Everything becomes commercial and the price is higher now. There is no other disadvantage. Even now the benefit of using probiotics is not evident, but I still think it should be better than using chemicals. Now, herbal is becoming commercial. Just listen to the advertising and use everything.

Because you try to be a more organic product, do you get a better price? Is the market open for shrimp that is grown more carefully?

Right now, we just use products from C.P., because we contract with C.P.

Will you take the advantage for the future, if there is a labeling scheme?

For the future, chemical-using will be less and less and it will become biotic. For the shrimp price, it depends on the buyer. I believe the shrimp price should be higher.