Omarsa: Chinese ban threatens Ecuadorian shrimp industrys growth plans
VIGO, Spain -- A suspension of shrimp imports from five Ecuadorian companies, which was announced last month by Chinese authorities, is a source of worry for the Latin American country's industry, said Sandro Coglitore, general manager at Omarsa, one of the largest shrimp processors in Ecuador.
'Export to China continues from the [Ecuadorian] plants [still] approved,' Coglitore told Undercurrent News, pointing out that those who do still have approvals are capitalizing on the shrimp price increase in China, which followed the news of the suspension.
China reversed its decision to suspend imports of shrimp from Omarsa just one week after imposing a ban.
But there is 'great concern in the market and we all want the situation to be resolved as soon as possible', he said, speaking at the Conxemar show in Vigo.
'There are ongoing negotiations between the Ecuadorian government and the Chinese authorities and in the meantime, private companies have to see how we can adjust,' Coglitore continued. Chinese buyers are also worried, as all measures that restrict trade can threaten their business, he added.
'The positive thing is that we are at the end of the year and the demand in Europe and the US will grow and can absorb [volumes] that do not enter China amid uncertainty. The product is not going to stay in Ecuador, all the production is going to be placed,' Coglitore also noted.
The executive pointed out that the Ecuadorian shrimp producers aim to continue growing next year at the same pace as in recent years, but key to this is that the issues with China are fully resolved. China represents approximately 60% of Ecuadorian shrimp sales.
Omarsa's huge growth
Omarsa is on track to process 100,000t this year, up from 70,000t last year. This will likely bring the company's revenue up to $600 million in 2019, up from $420m last year.
The company's new processing plant, which started operating last June and focuses on head-on, shell-on shrimp, is leading this growth. It has the capacity to process 500 metric tons per day. The company is also in the process of modernizing its production, installing automatic aeration and feeding systems. So far, 60% of the company's production is updated in this way, and within the next two years, it aims to have full modernization.