Saturday, June 27, 2015

The guys really did show up for work yesterday afternoon

Big dump truck moving dirt around

Backhoe busy digging away and loading the truck

To their word, the evacuation guys showed up for work yesterday afternoon and were tearing away and moving dirt all over the place.  I've been doing some research and calculations for a comparison of costs between a commercial fish pond in Florida VS Thailand.  For example, in Florida fish farming guides, its estimated that one should allocate $1 per cubic foot for dirt evacuation.  Each cubic foot of water can accommodate 2-5 pounds of fish such as Tilapia in intensive conditions, but a conservative value for us will be 1 pound per cubic feet of water or less.

Ponds run from the corner at bottom  center to the clump of bamboo in the distance

Clearing the land before evacuation
Our fish pond/irrigation ponds will be 370,800 cubic feet in capacity (more than 3 million gallons).  If we were to stock fish at a conservative rate of 50% stocking density, we could expect to harvest around 370,000 lbs of fish per growing period.  More if we are really good and let the fish get very fat.  Talapia retail for 60 baht a kilo at Makro so I expect that we will get no more than 10-20 baht per kilo to brokers and wholesalers.  So if the typical harvest is 170,000 kilos of fish at 20 baht per kilo, that would mean a gross of 3.4 million baht per season.  Less expenses of about 1.0 million (if that, but we plan to use premium fish food as we plan on eating the fish too), that would leave an optimistic profit of around 2.4 million baht per year.  Not too shabby for just feeding fish and a $5,000 dollar investment.  But since this is all theory and not practice, only time will tell.  At least we will have water for the resort, our crops, and fish on the table in the event stuff hits the fan.

I want us to start a duckweed pond or perhaps grow duckweed in the Khlong for fish food as that is a cheap and very environmentally friendly way to raise fish without any commercial products.  That way, we can be fully self sufficient.  

A new elevated road is going to go along the edge of the resort.
Khong will be on the left of the road and extent to the dirt piles in the distance

Total dirt moved is around 410,000 cubic feet for the ponds and khlong.  The roads are a bit more and so I am figuring our cost is around 4-5 cubic feet per baht - about 100 times cheaper than Florida. With these economics, this is a real case study on  why so much fish production is done abroad. While our fish will never make it back to the states, other fish farmers who produce even cheaper than we can have already grabbed a large share of the market.  This is especially true of fish from China, where labor is even cheaper than here in the land of smiles.  Time to pause and rethink our situation and how we can somehow gain back our self sufficiency and not let the politicians trade away our kid's futures.  

Plans are to go back to the mango tomorrow and get ready for my retirement visa renewal.  Can you believe that all dates for service this month at the US Embassy was already booked?  Worse than the California DMV....


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