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November 4, 2015

Ecuador

Omarsa Aims for Five Million Pounds of Organic Shrimp in 2015

 

Ecuadorian shrimp producer and processor Omarsa hopes to export five million pounds (2,268 metric tons) of organic shrimp in 2015.  Recently, it has seen a lot of demand from the Europe Union, particularly from Germany and the United Kingdom.

 

Eduardo Darquea, general manager at Omarsa’s Chongon organic farm in Guayaquil, said, “We have exceeded 4.2 million pounds of production, and our goal now is to...[produce] 5 million pounds by the end of 2015.”

 

Darquea also said larger shrimp sizes, which are more profitable for farmers, are in demand.  “In 2014, most clients wanted a shrimp of 16 grams, but the trend now is a size ranging from 16 to 24 grams.”

 

Omarsa’s bet on organic shrimp was not an automatic winner.  “From 2007 to 2011 sales were quite difficult; there was very low demand and we had to sell large volumes of organic as a normal shrimp, something that doesn’t happen today,” Darquea said.   “Obviously it’s been challenging to sell organic shrimp.  It’s more expensive than normal shrimp, since it takes more money to produce organic.”

 

Things changed after Omarsa became the first shrimp producer worldwide to gain Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certification in October 2014.  With its three farms—Cachugran, Chongon and Puna—certified to the ASC standard, Sandro Coglitore, general manager of Omarsa, said, “Since we got ASC certified, we have seen demand booming from Scandinavian countries, which have higher purchasing power.”  Coglitore is also pinning his hopes on USA demand, which claimed 13% of Omarsa’s exports in 2015, up two percent from 2014.

 

France and the Netherlands are still the two biggest markets for Omarsa’s organic shrimp, but their share has fallen this year as a result of demand in the USA, Germany, the United Kingdom, Switzerland and Belgium.   “In the USA demand for organic shrimp is going to grow.  We already noticed more demand since the USA refused shrimp from some Asian countries [that was] contaminated with banned antibiotics,” Coglitore said.

 

USA demand is also expected to increase on the back of the upcoming standards for farmed organic seafood by the USA Department of Agriculture (USDA), Coglitore said.

 

Omarsa has 909 hectares of organic shrimp ponds that are certified by international agencies like Naturland.  That’s more than any other country in South America.

 

Source: Undercurrent News [eight free news reads every month].  Editor, Tom Seaman (undercurrent@undercurrentnews.com).  Omarsa Aims for 5m Pounds of Organic Shrimp in 2015.  Alicia Villegas (alicia.villegas@undercurrentnews.com).  November 2, 2015.

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