Shrimp farming is one of the sectors that contributes the most to the country’s economy after the oil industry. According to the business advisor Cristina Martínez, in 2019 more than USD 3.3 billion were generated in exports of this product. But 2020 has been an irregular year due to the pandemic, especially because it arose in China, the main buyer worldwide.
Although activities are resumed little by little and slight growth is forecast for November, one of the concerns of small and medium producers is the difficulty of accessing credit. And, according to Martínez, most of them do not own the land where they work.
“Of the 210 thousand registered shrimp farms, 2 percent are titled; in other words, 88 percent are concessioned by the State ”, added the lawyer.
Lawyer Javier Cardoso, who collaborated in the drafting of the Aquaculture and Fisheries Law project, explains that the intention was to include in the regulations the figure of a special or aquaculture mortgage for this sector.
“The mortgage is a guarantee that falls on real estate. Special mortgages are very fashionable in the world; there are forestry, geothermal energy or mining that fall on State properties. Under these conditions, the guarantee to access a loan would not be the land since it is public property, but the right to the concession ”, explained the expert on aquaculture and fisheries issues.
However, Assemblywoman Mercedes Serrano recalled that the Food Sovereignty Commission analyzed this figure on several occasions, which finally was not included in the text approved by the plenary because it was not legally viable.
“In other countries there is civil and commercial jurisdiction that can guarantee this type of mortgage, but in Ecuador the jurisdiction does not allow us that a State land serves as a pledge for a loan, less in a public banking institution.”
The alternative that was left open, Serrano points out, is that producers at this level can pledge their movable property: engines, boats and others, although this would have to be defined in other instances such as the Monetary and Financial Regulation Board and no longer at the level. of the National Assembly.
For Cardoso, this would have been an avant-garde regulation with a great benefit for small shrimp farmers, taking into account that 60 percent of the current concessions are granted for lands of less than 30 hectares. (I)