The international company Cargill and Naturisa, its partner in Ecuador, have reached an agreement with Skyvest EC Holding to create a new joint venture that will serve Ecuadorian shrimp farmers’ increasing demand for high-quality shrimp feed. Through this union, Cargill will expand its shrimp-feed production capabilities to own and operate the shrimp-feed production facility currently owned by Skyvest subsidiary Empacadora Grupo Granmar (EmpaGran), located in Guayaquil.
The transaction, which is subject to regulatory approvals, is expected to close in the coming months. The feed plant that will be operated by Cargill was built in 2018, has a production capacity of 156,000 metric tons and employs more than 200 people.
“Through this joint venture, Cargill will nearly double its production capacity, and we will improve our capacity to serve our customers and partners. We will invest in this facility and expand our offering of shrimp feeds under the Cargill’s Aquaxcel brand to meet increasing demand for feed among our customers,” said Angel Gomez, managing director of Cargill’s aqua nutrition business in northern Latin America.
Increased demand for high-quality feed
Cargill first brought its world-class nutrition formulation expertise to Ecuador in 2015 when it partnered with shrimp-farming company Naturisa to build and operate a shrimp-feed manufacturing facility under the name “Aquacargill del Ecuador”.
“Since that time, the Ecuadorian shrimp farming industry has continued to grow, and there is a need to meet the increased demand for high-quality feed,” explained for her part Helene Ziv-Douki, president of Cargill’s aqua nutrition business.
In that sense, Francisco Sola, Naturisa President, added: “Our joint venture with Cargill has been a big success and a driver of growth for both organizations. We have established an excellent working relationship and we are excited to participate in this expansion to increase our production capacity of high-performance feed that will continue supporting the growth of the Ecuadorian shrimp industry”.
Cargill knowhow will improve feed quality
“We are excited that Cargill will bring its operational expertise and its deep knowledge of global supply chains and risk management to run this facility,” said on his part Víctor Ernesto Estrada Santistevan, owner of Skyvest. “The Cargill knowhow will improve feed quality, and their willingness to invest in the plant will bring more high-quality feed to the market,” he added.
Skyvest subsidiary EmpaGran is a fully integrated Ecuadorian Group dedicated to the entire chain of production of shrimp. The Group`s shrimp operation began in 1975 after pioneering in converting hectares of rice farms in the Taura region to shrimp ponds.
“Since then, the operation has grown consistently. By 1997, EmpaGran started operating the complete production chain of shrimp transforming itself in the first company in Ecuador to achieve a fully integrated shrimp operation: hatchery, 2,100 hectares shrimp farms, feed mill and a processing plant.”
Along with this, since 2014; the Group also manage a 1,100 hectares of shrimp production farm, a hatchery and a packing facility in Cartagena, Colombia. This unmatched vertical integration enables a maximum control of each step in the production process, exceeding the most demanding international quality standers and giving way to top-quality products and maximum levels of added value.
On its part, the international Cargill has 155,000 employees across 70 countries work relentlessly to achieve their purpose of “nourishing the world in a safe, responsible and sustainable way”. They connect farmers with markets, customers with ingredients, and people and animals with the food they need to thrive, as they say.
“156 years of experience are combined with new technologies and insights to serve as a trusted partner for food, agriculture, financial and industrial customers in more than 125 countries. They are trying to build a stronger, sustainable future for agriculture.”
In the case of Naturisa, since starting its first shrimp farm in 1980 on a 130-hectares property expanded to reach 7,500+ hectares exclusively producing the shrimp species Penaeus vannamei. In 1991, the company acquired the third largest shrimp exporter in Ecuador Sociedad Nacional de Galápagos (Songa), a company that maintains 50% of the total capital.
In its integrated growth process, Naturisa has five larviculture laboratories and has since 2016 owned 25% of Aquacargill shares.