Cultured shrimp in Ecuador
Ecuador is the world’s third largest producer of Litopenaeus vannamei (Whiteleg shrimp) and the largest in South America. Its shrimp sector is unique in terms of the high level of vertical integration and the large share of shrimp produced in extensive production systems. The unwillingness of producers to shift to more intensive production systems limits the future growth potential of shrimp production. However, Ecuador has advantages over its competitors in Asia ranging from relatively low farm level production costs, to high quality and high degree of uniformity of raw materials, to relatively large harvest sizes of shrimp. Contrary to Asian producers where labor costs are relatively low, with higher labor costs Ecuador focuses on the export of Head-On Shell-On (HOSO) instead of peeled and/or value added products. HOSO shrimp from Ecuador with its high quality and level of uniformity is a popular raw material for the shrimp cooking industry in Europe. In China shrimp from Ecuador has consolidated as a premium product in the restaurant sector.
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