Farmed tilapia. (Photo Credit: Niall Crotty)
Tilapia fresh fillets to the US and skin to the European cosmetic industry
Tuesday, February 25, 2014, 01:40 (GMT + 9)
For three consecutive years Honduras has been the first producer and exporter of tilapia. The country sent abroad 13 million pounds of tilapia in 2013, and this year the goal is to raise that amount to more than 21 million pounds, according to the Secretariat of Agriculture and Livestock (SAG).
The United States is the main market for Honduran products. Last year it bought nearly all of the 18.4 million pounds of fresh fillets exported, for USD 65 million. The increase projected for this year would raise the revenue in USD 5 more million, said the head of the department of Artisanal Fisheries under the SAG, Miguel Suazo, according to La Tribuna newspaper.
The proximity with the U.S. has helped Honduras become the largest supplier of fresh tilapia.
Historically, Ecuador and Costa Rica had occupied the first and second places as leading exporters of fresh fillets to the U.S. market, respectively, with a split share.
Aquafinca’s CEO, Orlando Delgado projects a record goal of 21.6 million pounds of tilapia for 2014, which would generate about USD 70 million in revenue, considering international price averages between USD 3 and USD 3.5 per pound.
Now, one of the objectives of the aquaculture sector and the Government of Honduras is the penetration of markets such as Europe and Asia, especially for non-traditional products that have great export potential.
For example, recently the market for tilapia skin used in cosmetics in the European market has been opened, according to data from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Tegucigalpa (CCIT).
While the export figures are unknown, the product prospects of becoming one of the non-traditional goods to contribute in the future to improve the trade balance are very certain, says Desire Garcia, manager of CCIT’s Business Development.