By Yojaira Paternina Cordoba*
“IFC has confidence on Omarsa because the company has a philosophy of sustainable production,” stated Sandro Coglitore, the General Manager of Omarsa, adding that “IFC’s investment in Omarsa will allow us to continue our expansion plans and will add to the economic growth of the country, creating 400 new jobs for Ecuadoreans in 2016.”
Omarsa is the first shrimp producer in the world to receive Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certification. In addition, Omarsa is implementing the good practices of the Aquaculture Certification Council (ACC) in its laboratories, on its farms, and in its processing plant. These were factors that helped prompt IFC to invest in this industry, after a long absence in this sector.
Carlos Leiria Pinto, IFC Head of the Andean Region, stated that “this new project demonstrates the commitment of IFC to the sustainable development of Ecuador and seeks to encourage use of the global best practices in the environmental and social areas.” Martin Spicer, IFC Regional Head of Industry for Manufacturing, Agribusiness, and Services in Latin America, underscored the fact that the long-term loan will “promote direct job creation in the country, particularly for women, and strengthen the relationship between Omarsa and local small and medium shrimp producers.”
IFC’s support for the business will strengthen the export sector in Ecuador, as shrimp exports represent the second biggest export category in the country after oil and derivatives, along with bananas. In 2014, the shrimp sector accounted for 10 percent of Ecuador’s total exports and 37 percent of the country’s non-oil exports. Omarsa will promote the sustainable growth of this industry.
IFC’s strategy in Ecuador focuses on providing financing and technical assistance to companies that have a strong and positive impact on the export sector while at the same time trying to support projects that cover climate change, create jobs, and benefit the most disadvantaged population groups. IFC support for Ecuador started when the country joined the institution in 1956. Since that time, IFC has invested roughly US$540 million in the county.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. Working with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, IFC uses its capital, expertise, and influence to create opportunity where it is needed most. In FY15, its long-term investments in developing countries totaled close to US$18 billion, allowing the private sector to play a key role in global efforts to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.
Honduran Shrimp industry in crisis due to 30% decrease in production
The low price of shrimp in international markets has affected the volume of Honduran farmed shrimp production, which fell between 20 and 30% over the past year according to officials of the National Aquaculture Association of Honduras (Andah). This has resulted in over US$50 million in losses, detailed ANDAH.
One factor being blamed for the reduced production is the effect of climate change, with increased salinity levels which caused the death of aquaculture animals. “Last year was a somewhat atypical with little rain, causing increased salinity and temperatures and altering the natural habitat of the shrimp,” said Javier Amador, executive director of the association of shrimp producers.
According to the most recent trade balance report of the Central Bank of Honduras (BCH) through September 2015, exports of this product decreased to $114.4 million, reflecting a sharp drop from $166.5 million during the same period in 2014.
“The reduction is attributed to the fall in export volume (20.8%) and price (13.2%), following the outbreak of vibriosis bacteria causing mortality, in addition to the slow development of this seafood crop by the lack of rain in production areas,” the Central Bank report stated.
The United Kingdom, Mexico and the United States were the main buyers of shrimp produced in the country. “We are sending to Taiwan, Hong Kong and Vietnam, achieving strengthened markets to continue exporting,” said Ricardo Gomez, president of Andah.
Yojaira Paternina Cordoba has a degree in Animal Husbandry from the National University of Colombia. She currently manages production, technical and marketing activities at Piscicola del Valle, S.A., specializing in production of red tilapia (Oreochromis sp.) and the white cachama (Piaractus brachypomus).