Ecuador has managed to position itself as the world’s leading shrimp producer, surpassing giants in this sector, such as China and India.
Ecuador’s shrimp sector seeking to maintain its position as world production leader and one of the largest exporters. To achieve this goal, companies in the sector are injecting more capital.
The volume of credit destined for shrimp and laboratory activities and the wholesale sale of the crustacean amounts to $435 million in the first quarter of 2022.
That is equivalent to an 82% increase in credit volume compared to the first three months of 2021, when $239 million were disbursed.
This is supported by a report by the consulting firm Oikonomics and the Economic Research Institute of the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador (PUCE).
“The increase in the volume of credit in the shrimp sector is due to a greater need for financing, due to the increase in investment contracts,” says the report.
According to Francisco Varas, Regional Manager of Banco Internacional, most of the financing accessed by the shrimp sector is for:
- Acquisitions of land for shrimp farming.
- Technology improvements for various processes, such as automatic feeding.
- Increasing the capacity of export plants.
Investment and improved technology in research have boosted productivity in the aquaculture sector, says David Chicaiza, a researcher at the Public Institute for Aquaculture and Fisheries Research.
Higher demand, better price
The national shrimp sector, like the international one, is investing more to increase its productivity, in response to an increasing demand.
“Shrimp is replacing other proteins,” explains Kléber Pontón, manager of the La Pantera shrimp farm.
The reason is that the shrimp has a good yield; that is, in a small space more is produced.
“One hectare of land produces 1,000 kilograms of beef in two years. On the other hand, with the new technologies, one hectare produces 50,000 kilograms of shrimp in three months,” says Pontón.
The higher demand for shrimp is pushing up its price. The international price of a pound of shrimp reached $14.96 in March 2022, according to Oikonomics. That equates to a 7% increase from the same month in 2021.
In the local market, a pound of shrimp reached $2.95 in March 2022, which is equal to an increase of 17% compared to the same month of the previous year.
Large producer and exporter
Driven by investment, Ecuador’s shrimp sector has positioned itself as the world’s largest producer, surpassing giants such as China and India. Local shrimp production reached one million tons in 2021.
This is because in the last seven years the production of the shrimp sector has grown at an average annual rate of 16%, according to Oikonomics and the PUCE.
With increased production, the country has managed to reach more than 40 countries.
Shrimp exports totaled $5.323 billion in 2021, which means a growth in value of 39% compared to 2020, according to the Central Bank.
Shrimp exports amounted to $2.387 billion in the first four months of 2022. That is equivalent to an increase in value of 79% compared to the same period in 2021.
In this context, the projection of Oikonomics and the PUCE is that the production and exports of the shrimp sector will maintain their upward trend in 2022.
The Central Bank projects that the gross value added of aquaculture and shrimp fishing will grow 3.7% in 2022.
The good performance recorded by the Ecuadorian shrimp sector has come to “impress,” as stated by Gorjan Nikolik, an analyst at the financial institution Rabobank, during the presentation of the Global Aquaculture Production Survey.