A major shrimp breeder, Union Phoukham Farm, will recommence supplies to local markets today after halting deliveries for two months.
“We will recommence normal supply and the farm believes supplies will not be reduced over Pi Mai Lao (Lao New Year) next week,” said an assistant accountant at the farm, Ms. Latdavanh Vongsaya, yesterday.
The farm, which is located in Xaythany District of Vientiane, stopped sales a few months ago because it was having trouble raising shrimp to maturity.
Ms. Latdavanh said the farm's prices remain unchanged, at 65,000 to 75,000 kip per kilo, depending on the size of the shrimp.
The farm has 24 ponds and typically produces about 200kg of shrimp daily.
It supplies mainly to Vientiane markets, such as Thongkhankham and That Luang, and also restaurants in the capital.
Restaurants and markets in Vientiane have had to import shrimp from neighbouring countries in recent months as breeders have struggled to keep up with demand.
A restaurant assistant in Naxay village, Xaysettha District, Mr. Xieng, said the restaurant had to import frozen shrimp from Thailand over the last two months to make up for the shortage in local supply.
“However, customers don't like the frozen product and prefer fresh local shrimps that taste better,” Mr. Xieng said.
“Importing frozen shrimp is also costly, at almost 80,000 kip per kg.”
Xaythany district also has another shrimp breeder, the 9 Meena Shrimp Farm. However, it halted production and supply at the end of last year because of ongoing improvements. It will resume supply once the improvements are completed.
The Meena farm also faced similar issues as the Phoukham farm. Many juvenile shrimps were maturing slowly and many died after being shipped in from Thailand.
The two farms import baby shrimp as they cannot breed juvenile shrimp themselves.
Before Meena halted supply, it typically produced about 100 to 150kg of shrimp per day in 13 ponds.
According to the Meena farm, Vientiane restaurants require over 500kg of shrimp per day, with several large hotels and restaurants each requiring more than 20kg per day.
The Meena farm was established in 2005 as a Lao-Thai business venture, with Lao investors holding a 15 percent share.
Phoukham farm is also a Lao-Thai venture in which local investors hold a 25 percent stake.
The farms were established after Thai businesses surveyed the Nam Ngum River and found it was suitable for commercial shrimp farming.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, the only other shrimp farm in Laos is located in Borikhamxay province.