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Ecuador

Songa Increases Processing Capacity

 

To increase its processing capacity, Songa (Sociedad Nacional de Galápagos), a vertically-integrated shrimp company that has 7,500 hectares of shrimp ponds and produces around 27,000 metric tons of shrimp a year, is introducing new freezing lines and cold storage systems.  Miguel Culcalón, commercial director at Songa, said its expanded facilities will be up and running by May 2018.

 

Songa is implementing the new systems to make it more competitive with other processors in Ecuador.  It’s adding an individually quick frozen (IQF) system that reduces the freezing time from four to six hours to around 40 minutes.  “The [IQF] brined frozen shrimp is not the best quality, but the market is demanding it more and more, especially in Asia, and we have decided to buy one machine,” Culcalón said.

 

In addition, Songa will install a new sorting machine.  “At the moment we don’t have enough space to process our production, which forces us to use third-party plants to meet demand, but the expansion will be enough to supply our markets,” Culcalón said.

 

   

 

With the new equipment at its processing plant, it expects to increase production from the current 150 metric tons a day to 200 metric tons a day.  It also plans to increase value-added production to around 20 percent of its total production.

 

   

 

The company is currently supplying normal volumes of large shrimp after having struggled “like everyone else in the country,” to harvest big sizes during the first six months of the year.  Due to the unusual and very strong rains in the first half of 2017, shrimp farmers in Ecuador were forced to harvest early and sell small shrimp, leaving some markets undersupplied.  Importers in China and important clients in South Korea, like Costco, require large shrimp under contract that a company “cannot afford” to lose.

 

In the past, when Songa did not have large shrimp, it would buy them from other processors, but in early 2017, no one had large shrimp, Culcalón said.  Songa had to stop selling large shrimp to some clients, so it could continue servicing its major customers.  The rains stopped in June, and farms returned to normal harvests in September.  Culcalón said, “Right now exports of large sizes are picking up again.”

 

Information: Miguel Culcalón, Sociedad Nacional Galapagos, Av. Las Esclusas Km. 3.5 Via Hcda. La Josefina, Guayaquil, Ecuador (Phone 593-4-259-1250, Fax 593-4- 259-1256, Emails  exports@songa.com and ventas@songa.com, Webpage http://www.songa.com/contacto.php).

 

Source: IntraFish (an online, subscription-based, fishery news service).  Publisher Pål Korneliussen (pk@intrafish.no).  Ecuador Shrimp Farmer Songa Boosts Tech, Efficiency.  Lola Navarro (lola.navarro@intrafish.com).  October 24, 2017.

 

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