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Shrimp exec: Ecuadorian exports must maintain value over volume

Value has been lost in the face of growing competition but 2017 is looking up for Ecuador's shrimp exports.

Despite growing competition in key markets, Ecuador's shrimp exports are booming, but value must be maintained for the producer to stay on top of its game, according to Rodrigo Laniado, CEO of Ecuadorian shrimp producer Songa.

In addition to competition from India, the Ecuadorian shrimp industry is seeing wild Argentinean red shrimp take market share from it in Spain, a traditional market for vannamei.

“Even if it’s wild and the product is different, the Argentinean shrimp is the main competitor to our shrimp,” said Laniado.

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Ecuadorian shrimp exports have, however, thrived with annual growth since 2007. Since 2013, exports have increased 69 percent.

In 2017, producers expect to surpass 421,500 metric tons with more than 50 percent of exports going to Asia, primarily Vietnam (47 percent), China, Korea and Japan.

Europe is expected to account for 99,000 metric tons -- thanks to the agreement between Ecuador and the EU -- and the United States for 72,000 metric tons.

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Reducing dependency on Vietnam is one of the main focuses of Ecuador’s foreign commerce office, since there are irregularities regarding transparency and monitoring.

“We have increased 25 percent in value in the past 3 years, for an increase in export volumes of 55 percent. We would like to grow more in value than in volume, but it’s hard because we sell to Vietnam,” said Laniado.

However, in the first eight months of 2017, Ecuadorian shrimp exports increased 17 percent in volume with prices staying stable.

“Volume now grows, prices [are stable], so we generated 17 percent in value; this is a way of proving that the Ecuadorian product has a value above the market.”

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This content originally appeared in IntraFish's AquaExpo 2017 blog.

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