Brazil: In those ten years, production in this sector increased from 257,000 to 574,000 tonnes of fish, according to a study by Embrapa Fisheries and Aquaculture researchers (Tocantis), presented at the conference of the International Institute of Fisheries Economics and Trade (IIFET) held this year in Aberdeen, Scotland.
The good performance of Brazilian aquaculture has aroused the interest of large financial institutions, such as Rabobank, the largest global financier in the agricultural sector. This Dutch institution and the National Bank for Economic and Social Development (BNDES) consider that Brazil is an important player in world aquaculture, with a level similar to that of countries with a tradition in this industry, such as Chile, Vietnam and Norway.
Currently, Brazil ranks 14th in terms of increased aquaculture’s production in the world, according to FAO.
The authors of the report recorded the entry of large private companies into the chain of Brazilian aquaculture.
In this regard, they stress the municipality of Selviria in Mato Grosso do Sul received an investment of BRL 160 million (USD 48 million) in a complex that includes a feed factory, nursery and fattening centre and a processing tilapia plant.
In Tocantinópolis (TO), a feed plant and fattening ponds were built for the cachama and pintado chain, species which are also produced in Sorriso (MT), where BRL 22 million (USD 6.6 million) was invested in cold stores and fish feed factories. And in the town of Almas, Tocantins, which has become the aquaculture hub of this state, has facilities for fattening and processing cachama, pintado, matrinxã, piau, curimba and arapaima.
The study also highlights the recent merger of two large Brazilian fish processing companies: Geneseas and DellMare. The new company, announced last month, is linked to an agroindustry-focused investment fund and will produce 12 tonnes of tilapia per year and 3 tonnes of white shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei).
The study also identified an increase in the price of feed and stabilization in the fish price in the country during the analyzed period.
"If the increase in national aquaculture production continues at the rate of 10 per cent a year, this fish price stabilizing trend is expected to remain at least in the short and medium term," says researcher Manuel Pedroza, one of the authors of the study. In his view, the price of imported products exerts strong pressure to keep Brazil's fish at competitive prices.
In addition to private investment, the organization of producers - in the form of cooperatives, associations and alternative production models - has helped to increase the sector’s production level.
According to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), in 2015 freshwater fish production was the main category in Brazilian aquaculture, with an 84 per cent participation in total production. Marine aquaculture provided only 16 per cent of total production, with shrimp (12 per cent) and oysters, scallops and mussels (4 per cent) being the main species.
Tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) and cachama (Colossoma macropomum) represent 62 per cent of the national production, according to data collected by the IBGE in 2016.