The Development of Catfish as a Farm Crop and an Estimation of Its Economic Adaptability to Radiation Processing

The catfish farming industry during the next few decades will face some crucial challenges. First, in order to adapt to the apparent increased production, well-organized efficient markets must be developed. The success of this industry during the next 10 years will primarily depend on the adequacy of this marketing strucutre. In addition, it will be necessary for the catfish industry to improve productivity and lower production costs to make catfish products competitive. These challenges notwithstanding, it is clear that the catfish industry will expand significantly during the next 15 to 20 years. The strucutre of the expanded catfish industry by that time will differ markedly from the current industry. Production techniques will be changed; the market will be more organized and progessive; and it is also likely that the fish will represent an improved genetic species, more adaptable to fish farming. At the present, pond reared catfish are marketed either live for fee pond fishing or as a fresh (unfrozen) product. Although the market for fresh catfish can be expanded, the analysis in this study shows clearly the need to develop new products to absorb the increased output of catfish. Radiation-pasteurization processing, it was found will undoubtedly pay substantial dividends in terms of direct public benefits. If the entire farm output were marketed in the fresh-irradiated form, then depending upon the discount rate, benefits would range between $31 and $45 million discounted value over an 11 year period. Likewise, the development of irradiation processed catfish products will increase net returns over and above all costs, including irradiation costs, to the industry. It would be expected that during the period 1975-1985, an irradiated product, selling in an unfrozen form, would generate 5 percent greater net revenue for the industry than would be generated by the sales of fresh catfish. This increase in net revenue will primarily be due to : (1) reduced spoilage loss (2) increased sales because of the elimination of the practice of short-buying, i.e., buying less than expected sales as a hedge against spoilage loss. Although there is little doubt that radiation processing can pay for itself in both the public and private sector, frozen catfish products represent a feasible alternative. If it were possible to market the same amount of catfish in the frozen form as in the fresh form, net revenues from irratdiated catfish. Marketing in the frozen form, in any case, adds less to the national income stream than irradiated. What is likely is that some combination of fresh and frozen catfish will make up the marketed forms. In this case, it is fully expected that irradiation-pasteurization will provide substantial public and private benefits.

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 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2018-01-23

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