Could Ecuador’s shrimp output overhaul India in 2019? : Nov 05, 2019
Farmers and shrimp buyers feel Ecuadorean shrimp production may overhaul India in 2019, as the Asian country is expected to be flat or even drop.
Sandro Coglitore, managing director of Omarsa,one of Ecuador’s big shrimp exporters, told Undercurrent News he predicts “at least” 640,000 metric tons as the output for 2019, which is more than expected. This is in line with what was forecasted at the recent 2019 Global Outlook for Aquaculture Leadership (GOAL) conference, held in Chennai, India.
Auto-feeders and other technological innovations in Ecuador have been the driver of this incredible growth.
The GOAL forecast is also for India to slide below 600,000t in 2019, from around 650,000t in 2018. This is in line with what a big US shrimp buyer told Undercurrent, who also said he feels Ecuador will pass India.
Jim Gulkin, the CEO of Siam Canadian Group, a frozen seafood supplier based in Bangkok, Thailand, gave 570,000-620,000t as his estimate for India, which would be flat or down about 5%. Of course, estimates for India are hard to make, as the country’s shrimp farming industry is sprawling and on both coasts of the vast country, despite Andhra Pradesh being the main hub.
According to customs data, Indian exports for the first eight months of 2019 are 430,000t, up 3% year-on-year. For the first nine months of the year, Ecuador’s exports are 472,000t, an increase of 26% y-o-y.
However, India exports a lot of peeled shrimp, whereas Ecuador’s core product is head-one. Compared to head-one, peeled is a 65-70% recovery, depending on the level of soak, one source told Undercurrent. “Indians still have a lot of shrimp. If we extrapolate the Indian exports being 50% peeled, then the farm gate production would still surpass Ecuador.”
For Vietnam, Gulkin estimated the output of around 700,000t of vannamei and black tiger combined. Indonesia will be over 400,000t and, for Thailand, Gulkin estimated the production of 280,000-300,000t, which is up slightly, as farmers have produced larger sizes of shrimp.