The largest share of shrimp farmers use semi-intensive methods to culture different shrimp species. Estimated, there were around 7,000 L. vannamei and 3,000 P. monodon farmers in 2015, using a total farming area of 127,962 ha. Of these 100,000 farmers, 750 were operating on a commercial scale. Many of the larger farms are integrated in companies that also have processing establishments. This can either be through direct ownership, lease constructions, or contract manufacturing arrangements.
The small-scale farms are largely unorganised and depend on a long supply chain of agents that provide inputs to and purchase raw materials from them. However, an increasing number of small-scale farmers are organised in different types of clusters. The first group of clusters are the small-scale farmers that are approved by Coastal Aquaculture Authority (CAA) for the culture of Litopenaeus vannamei. The CAA standards require farms to cluster up to a minimal connected land area in order to be able to manage bio-security and water intake and outlet in a proper way. Out of the 903 farms registered by CAA, 546 are cluster farms accommodating 2,509 numbers of small-scale farmers. The second type of farm groups originates from the Marine Products Exports Development Authority (MPEDA) aqua societies initiative. Currently MPEDA has organised more than 18,000 farmers in more than 800 groups. These groups are trained by the National Centre for Sustainable Aquaculture (part of MPEDA) in good aquaculture practices. At present several of these farm groups are enrolled in the Global Aquaculture Alliance iBAP program, supported by National Fish and Seafood, a US based importer, to achieve BAP certification. Clustered farms usually have more direct linkages with processors through buy back arrangements, where processors provides access to inputs in exchange for a buy back guarantee of the farmer’s raw materials. If clusters are legalized they also have access to bank accounts and government subsidy schemes. Cluster farms in general are easier to certify under ASC or BAP standards than individual small-scale farmers.