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If exports were a soccer tournament, shrimp would lift its six-time championship this 2022

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From January to August, the Ecuadorian shrimp industry exported 1,537 million pounds of shrimp, generating $4,481 million in foreign exchange, a growth of 32% by volumeaccording to figures obtained from website of the National Chamber of Aquaculture (CNA).

If Ecuador’s non-oil exportable supply were a soccer championship, the crustacean would culminate this 2022 as the six-time champion of this tournament, since since 2017 it has not been the first place in exports dethroning bananas, which has been its immediate success since that year. pursuer, although since 2021 the gap between the two has deepened.

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According to figures from the Central Bank of Ecuador, in 2016 it was the last time that the banana surpassed the shrimp, the fruit closed with exports for $2,734 million, while the crustacean culminated with $2,580 million. The most marked difference in the last ten years in favor of bananas occurred in 2013 when it generated foreign exchange for $2,322 million and shrimp only reached $1,783 million.

From January to August, banana exports continue to decline, a trend that would continue with a negative closing of 2022, with at least -8%

However, since 2017, shrimp exports have been turning the score around, from a technical tie that year with $3,035 million and $3,038 million for bananas and shrimp, respectively, the latter with an increase of 17.7%. in foreign currency and 18.1% in volume compared to 2016; until 2021 with a 5-3 win: $ 5,223 million for shrimp and $ 3,485 million for bananas, which since that year has been dragging significant falls in its exports and is expected to close 2022 with -8%.

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From the CNA, its president Jose Antonio Camposano he has always endorsed the success of the shrimp industry to private sector investments for the improvement of infrastructure and research.

Currently, the main market for the crustacean is China, which from January to August was the destination of 61% of Ecuador’s shrimp exports and generated $2,324 million. It is followed by the United States with 17%, Europe with 16%, the rest of Asia (4%) and others (Africa, Oceania and the rest of America) with 2%.

However, Camposano argued that each market has its specific demand, whether for whole shrimp, tail or added value.

“Ecuador specialized for years in producing an excellent whole shrimp, positioning itself in several markets as the main supplier of this product. However, in the last three years, the country has increased its shrimp processing capacity to serve other market segments, especially supermarkets,” explained the leader.

Xavier Valverde, expert in aquaculture and fishingstated that the whole shrimp market is the most profitable and today the white vannamei shrimp is the most demanded in the world, which is native to the Pacific coast, with Ecuador being the largest producer globally since 2021.

“This is an ideal scenario for our country and we must take full advantage of it, increasing the productivity of this sector and publicizing the advantages of our shrimp compared to others,” said Valverde, who pointed out that other countries with large shrimp production, mainly from Asia, have wanted to adapt to the production of vannamei, despite not being a native species of their coasts.

This entails many disadvantages for them, said the expert, such as having to use antibiotics to make them resistant to adverse conditions, while he stressed that Ecuadorian shrimp is free of antibiotics and highly resistant to diseases, which makes it the preferred shrimp in the international market.

Electrification of shrimp farms: ‘From the sector we perceive that the issue has not been given the priority it deserves’

However, despite the good moment of the local shrimp industry, Valverde assured that there are challenges. He lists five challenges for the aquaculture sector by 2023:

  1. Strengthen the production of Ecuadorian shrimp, the most demanded in the world: the challenge, according to the expert, is to obtain more public and private support, in order to constantly improve the vannamei variety, in terms of scientific research, modernization, productivity and genetics .
  2. Consolidate the technical competitive advantages of shrimp from Ecuador compared to similar products from the competition: he insisted that the differentiating attribute of Ecuadorian shrimp is being free of antibiotics. In this sense, it is essential that the sector receives greater technical support to publicize this extremely important competitive advantage. In this way consolidate its global growth trend.
  3. Obtain more state support: Valverde assured that it is urgent to change the role of the State in this sector and eliminate overregulations in the production chain, in order to avoid abuses and obstacles and promote this sector more quickly. “State portfolios need to understand the legal framework that affects shrimp investments. For example, it is incoherent for a ministry to start reversing productive land for shrimp by applying wrong legal criteria. The State must guarantee the legal security of investors, not injure it”, explained the expert, who is a specialist in agrarian, environmental and administrative law.
  4. Another challenge is to improve environmental practices and create sustainable development by systematically incorporating more clean energy into operations, further technifying production processes and improving product traceability.
  5. Finally, diversify the product. Valverde indicated that despite the fact that several aquaculture companies in the country invest in the diversification of products related to shrimp towards other markets, it is key to understand that the whole shrimp market is the most profitable and is also the least complicated, so diversifying the product It is a decision that entails great sacrifices and costs. “The investments that must be made to compete in markets other than whole shrimp must be very high (more than anything in technology and workforce) and will not necessarily have the same profitability as in the whole shrimp market,” he said.

President López Obrador affirms that there is still no agreement with Ecuador for the entry of shrimp, tuna and bananas into Mexico

Another challenge, but more in line with the opening of markets, is the entry of shrimp into the Mexican market through the signing of a trade agreement with the Aztec country, which has not materialized so far.

Camposano assured that for the shrimp sector all markets are important, so they hope that the Ecuadorian negotiating team reaches the objectives set and an agreement with Mexico is achieved.

“There is a firm interest from our industry to achieve some type of access for our product that, today, does not enter that market. On the contrary, not getting access for shrimp makes the agreement less relevant in terms of our exports,” explained the president of the CNA, who recalled that the negotiation process between the two countries is still open and that they await the Mexican response to the approach made. for Ecuador: to enter the Mexican market with shrimp, avoiding, as much as possible, affecting its national industry. (YO)

Source: Eluniverso

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