These days, shrimp claim to be working at a loss. The low prices they receive, they say, is not even allowing them to cover the investment . The cause comes from China, the largest buyer of the Ecuadorian shrimp that, in a context of health emergency on New Year’s holiday , has lowered its orders.
The little shrimpman of El Oro is clear about the causes, what he never imagined is that in such a short time, the effect has reached its properties. “We are receiving extremely low prices that at least here have not been seen in years, including the time of the white spot,” says Armangel Aguilar, producer of Machala, owner of 30 hectares, who says that these days in his sector is cancels $ 1.60 for each pound of shrimp of 21 grams average, below the $ 2.00 they received at the end of last November. A value that, he says, is not allowing them to cover the cost of production that, per pound, is between $ 1.65 and $ 1.70. “It is a decline that affects us considerably because unfortunately the inputs do not fall in price. Balancing, additives, on the contrary, tend to rise. ”
A similar reality is lived by producers of Pedernales (Manabí) . There, says producer Christian Fontaine, for the pound of medium shrimp (only tail) before they received $ 2.00, but today the payment is $ 0.45 less. While for the big one, the price dropped from $ 2.05 to $ 1.75.
It is trying to see how more shrimp is placed in the US, but it is difficult to compete with India.
In the field, producers are aware that this scenario will not change as long as China does not recover from the coronavirus that keeps its mobilization and consumption restricted. They know how important this market is in their purchases. Last year it was able to absorb 55% of local shrimp production , after the acquisition of 767.3 million pounds. The list was followed by the United States (172.8 million) where, it is said, this situation is trying to place more volume.
With such dependence, the reaction observed today in the market was as expected, says José Antonio Camposano, president of the National Chamber of Aquaculture (CNA) . “The extension of the Chinese holiday (for the New Year), caused the delay of new orders, this because in addition there would be certain stocks of the product that could not be consumed due to restrictions in the mobilization of citizenship, recommended to prevent further propagation of the illness”.
Now that the Government has decreed the end of that business, he says, the expectation is that part of the dynamics of consumption return to that market . “From today (yesterday) it was finished and therefore what we hope is to see the revival of commercial activity, especially of restaurants, one of the most important points of sale of the Ecuadorian shrimp and with it the replacement of certain stocks that start to consume ”. The process, he admits, may not be quick because the health emergency persists, but what is expected at least is a better picture. However, while that happens, producers ask the authorities to control the price speculation that this commercial problem could be generating.
DATA FROM THIS SECTOR
- Sales Shrimp has become the first non-oil export product. Last year it generated $ 3,652 million, of which $ 1,986 million came from the Chinese market.
- Producers Low prices are suffered by small producers who must make more investment to get their production. At national level there are 3,800 productive units, 70% are considered small.
- Value chain. A destabilization of this market would also affect 200 larval laboratories; to about twenty primary processors; to more than 50 input stores and about 16 feed processors.