Colombo, Sri Lanka-based Taprobane Seafood has added shrimp aquaculture services to its offerings in order to diversify its business.

The company, which operates 15 facilities primarily processing blue swimming crab, began a vannamei shrimp cultivation program in 2019, and in November 2021, received a strategic investment from the Atman Group to help its expand its shrimp aquaculture.

On 12 December, Taprobane announced the creation of Taprobane Aqua Services, a provider of shrimp aquaculture products and services. The company is hoping to lead the sustainable growth of shrimp aquaculture in Sri Lanka by offering the country’s farmers postlarvae shrimp, equipment, training on farming methods, access to high-quality feed via a collaboration with Skretting, and a 100 percent buyback guarantee to its contracted farmers.

“As a pioneer and first-mover in aquaculture, Taprobane Seafoods’ vision for its growth and expansion also encompasses how Sri Lanka can develop this industry as a niche export segment that earns valuable foreign exchange for the country,” Taprobane Seafoods Managing Director Timothy O’Reilly said. “The series of initiatives we have taken as we enter 2022 reflects Taprobane’s blueprint for building the future of the Sri Lankan shrimp industry whilst ensuring diversification and value addition in our own operations.”

Taprobane will offers SPF seedlings raised at its own hatchery from Broodstock brought in from Hawaii. It has also created a relationship with Caterpillar so local farmers can rent, lease, or buy equipment, including heavy machinery and generators, for the build-out of shrimp ponds.

“One of the challenges in more-intensive farming is power supply. So Taprobane, in collaboration with UTE, plans to offer lease and rental generators to support farmers when the biomass is high, and more energy is required,” it said. “In yet another strategic move, Taprobane has entered a partnership with UTE (Caterpillar) to offer farmers, equipment on lease or purchase for aquaculture. One of the main cost components of farming is electricity and Taprobane’ expansion of its shrimp farming business will be supported by a UTE salesperson at the location where farmers can lease or buy heavy machinery, generators, [and other equipment used] when renovating existing earthen shrimp ponds.”

Taprobane has also entered a partnership with Skretting to provide premium aquafeed to farmers.

“Taprobane Group, and its integrated approach, plays the pivotal lead that Sri Lanka needs to embrace the vannamei shrimp-farming opportunity in the right way,” Nutreco Vietnam and Skretting Excellence Asia General Manager Marc Le Poul said. “Vannamei shrimp farming is a global and competitive industry that requires technical capabilities, some certain level of investments, serious traceability, and sustainability engagements that Sri Lanka has all potential to cope best with and become a major source for top-quality products. Skretting, the global leader in aquaculture feed, feels excited to join forces with Taprobane Group in building this level of exigence that Sri Lankan prawn farmers will be proud about.”

The goal of the new initiative is “showcasing Taprobane’ blueprint to drive a sustainable and eco-friendly shrimp sector through controlled intensification,” the company said.

“The benefits to the farmer will be reducing middlemen and paying direct to farmers, thus ensuring good prices; Working with the government on polices, regulations, and infrastructure (for example, electrification, channel dredging, and roads); Helping older-generation farmers move more quickly into utilizing new technology; Shifting mindsets and onboarding farmers on to new production and platforms; Working with the government to change the lingering sentiment that shrimp farming is bad; Protecting our environment; And 100 percent transparency within our sector to ensue human rights are being protected.”

Taprobane, which is a supplier for several major retailers in the United States and globally, including Whole Foods U.S.A., was recently awarded 3-star Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) certification for its shrimp operations.

Photo courtesy of Taprobane Seafood

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