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How smartphone photos give small-scale shrimp farmers the edge in Vietnam

Mr. Nguyen Van Truc
XpertSea
Mr. Nguyen Van Truc
Mr. Nguyen Van Truc

Director of Tan Hung cooperative in Ca Mau - Vietnam

The customer

The Tan Hung cooperative consists of dozens of small-scale Vannamei farmers that have been operating in the Mekong Delta for more than 15 years. Leveraging economies of scale, the cooperative boosts its members’ negotiation power with suppliers and provides access to new information to expand production capabilities.The challenge

As shrimp production systems in Vietnam intensify to keep up with growing export demands, farmers are faced with new management challenges. Higher pond densities generate greater profits but also increase system sensitivity that if not managed properly, can lead to greater loss. 

Mr. Nguyen Van Truc is the leader of the Tan Hung cooperative.  He started farming in 2013 with two earthen ponds and today has grown to 14 intensive ponds.

While scaling his farming business, Mr. Nguyen Van Truc, and other managers in the cooperative, have faced challenges assuring the accuracy of new crop stockings, and the accuracy of weight sampling data, starting from the nursery tanks through the grow out ponds. This information if not accurate, can negatively impact pond performance and feed conversion ratios. (FCR)

Traditional monitoring methods are manually performed and include taking a sample of shrimp, placing it on a weighing scale and checking the average body weight (ABW).

If the technician wrote down in the logbook that a pond’s ABW was ‘0.5 grams,’ as an example, but did not mention that the sample had a high distribution or maybe a high percentage of discoloring, it would not be possible for the manager to use this information to optimize feeding rates or probiotic treatments for the following day.

"To make the best decisions for your farm you must be detail oriented, " said Mr. Nguyen Van Truc. "Checking shrimp health by using a weighing scale and keeping written notebooks was only providing a small piece of the information needed to understand pond performance."

The solution

Digital tools play a critical role in reducing uncertainty and improving the decision-making process. XpertSea’s new mobile app makes it easy for farmers to use their smartphones to monitor pond growth by simply taking a picture of their shrimp.

A farmer takes a picture of his shrimp with the XpertSea appWith only a few pictures, farmers can assess the ABW and individual weight distribution of a sample of shrimp. The data is standardized and the app always records a photo of the shrimp, making it easier to compare information between technicians and crops. 

A farmer checks the results of his shrimp growth on his phone

"Using the app to measure shrimp growth is very useful. The number of samples taken is higher, faster and more accurate than conventional manual shrimp sampling. Shrimp are healthy when sampled, free from injury and the data is stored and managed on a real-time online database." 

The results

While change is never easy, 100% of the cooperative members have successfully transitioned from traditional growth monitoring practices to using XpertSea’s digital tools. Mr. Nguyen Van Truc plans to continue encouraging technology adoption to improve his fellow farmers' productivity and  welfare.

"Production management technique is one aspect of farming that we can control and is crucial to our success.  Farmers must always make the effort to improve their practices in order to effectively adapt to industry changes, or else will face greater risks unnecessarily."

About XpertSea‍

XpertSea is a Canadian technology company that's transforming how the global aquaculture industry farms seafood to help feed the world. With customers in over 50 countries, we use artificial intelligence and data to make aquaculture more profitable and sustainable.

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