Crab farm owner develops innovative vertical Industry 4.0
Reporter by: Setiawan Liu
Jakarta, November 11, 2019/Indonesia Media – As Indonesia has not developed crab farming system, especially one using the vertical system, Hendra Sugandhi rises to the challenge to start. Moreover, the neighbouring country such as Singapore has done and improved (the farming) intensively with extension of technology and research activity. “Not only Singapore, but Malaysia, Thailand, Brunei, and China have made progress and yielded. I am challenged. Singapore has no resources, but the farmers manage to develop (the farming) with vertical layout,” said Hendra.
There are four species of mud crab, namely Scylla serrata, S. tranquebarica, S. paramamosain and S. olivacea. They are the focus of both commercial fisheries and aquaculture production throughout their distribution. They are among the most valuable crab species in the world, with the bulk of their commercial production delivered live to market.
Compared with other types of aquaculture, mud crab culture still has a large number of variants, including the use of seedstock collected from the wild, as well as production from a hatchery; farming systems that range from very extensive to intensive, monoculture to polyculture; and farm sites that vary from mangrove forests to vertical farms. The idea of farming is interesting especially for Singapore, which is small compared to Jakarta, a big city with its crowded life. “The system (vertical layout) is a good solution for space constraints, especially Jakarta. Besides, it is safe from predators. We have in total 3000 (three thousand) boxes. Each 1000 boxes only requires a space of 11 meters long and 6 meters wide,” he said.
He started developing the aquaculture’s intensive vertical mud crab farm last year, partnering with industrial machinery producer, namely PT Tritunggal Segara Indonesia (TSI). After establishing the joint venture, TSI provided thousands of boxes in the facility of vertical farming. “We are also developing a research system together with Bogor Agricultural University (IPB). We are using an old building that functions as laboratory, located in Ancol area (north Jakarta). We renovated and use some parts of the building. We are the sole distributor for vertical farming of crab throughout Indonesia,” he added.
The concept of crab farming with a vertical system in the heart of a big city such as Jakarta would be interesting. He currently employs three assistants who graduated from the Faculty of Fishery and Marine Technology, of IPB. The vertically stacked farming method is equipped by sprinklers of water. The assistants feed them daily with a ground mixture of trash fish. “We buy the fish either in Muara Baru or Muara Angke (fishing port), not far from our place,” said Hendra.
Both the local and international crab market is growing rapidly. However, as the regulations for exporting crabs, especially soft-shell crabs in Indonesia are a bit difficult, he is currently only focusing on fattened crab for the local market. He hopes that the new Minister of Marine Affairs and Fisheries could expedite the revision of regulations and focus on the development of soft-shell crab aquaculture, because the market demand is very high, especially in the USA and Japan. Exporting crab could be a potential source of revenue for the country. “So far, we would prefer to supply (fattened crab) for local market. If we want to export to a big market such as China, we must consider the size. For certain crab size, the price in Indonesia and China is similar. But for larger sizes (approx. larger than 600 grams), China might be willing to buy double the price.” said Hendra. (sl/IM)