April 16, 2021
Ecuador experts see potential of increased shrimp sales to US
Shrimp sales to China, one of Ecuador's main markets, have fallen during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and that has pushed exporters to try to compensate for the fall by looking at sale options in the United States.
The Ecuadorian shrimp sector is striving to serve segments such as retail (supermarkets and sales through online channels) and others that demand shrimp tails and value-added products.
"This effort implies investments and increases in the processing costs of shrimp that was previously sold whole to other countries and distribution channels," says José Antonio Camposano, president of the National Chamber of Aquaculture (CNA).
Willem van der Pijl, a consultant for Shrimpinsights portal, argues that many buyers have moved from Indonesia to, for example, Ecuador, because Indonesian growers tend to focus on larger sizes, while US buyers require a mix of sizes.
Shrimpinsights notes that the CNA and Sustainable Shrimp Partnership have been aggressively promoting Ecuadorian shrimp and aim to differentiate it from its Asian competitors, claiming sustainability and superior quality.
"With this strategy, Ecuador tries to enter the retail markets of the United States and Europe, which until now have been dominated by Asian suppliers," says Shrimpinsights.
The president of the CNA also stressed that antibiotics are not used in Ecuador. "The Asian competition is very tough, but it has serious problems of rejections due to the presence of antibiotics. Ecuador has a clean record," assures Camposano.
Being geographically closer and having a stable supply year-round have also helped the sector improve its shipments to North America.