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Ecuadorian shrimp. (Photo: Stock File)

Producers and restoration industry disagree on Ecuadorian shrimp import

Click on the flag for more information about Brazil BRAZIL
Saturday, April 22, 2017, 00:50 (GMT + 9)

The Brazilian Association of Bars and Restaurants (ABRASEL) has addressed the complaints of the Brazilian shrimp sector regarding the release of Ecuadorian "headless, peeled and frozen" shrimp imports for human consumption.

With the objective of preventing the Ecuadorian shrimp from entering the Brazilian market, producers in the northeast region of Brazil have intensified their pressure and are trying to cause the reaction of the representatives of their states in Congress. In addition, they have ensured that if they do not manage to have this situation solved, they will go to Court.

Through a statement signed by its president, Paulo Solmucci, ABRASEL intends to clarify doubts regarding Ecuador's shrimp import process and the "successful conclusion" of the import risk analysis report issued by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply.

ABRASEL argues, first of all, that domestic shrimp production for the supply of the domestic market has not only got stagnated for more than a decade, but it has also been weakened recently by the spread of the white spot virus.

It explains that although this virus does not pose a risk to human health, it has a high impact on productive capacity, since the mortality rate is at least 40 per cent of the farmed shrimp.

As a result, ABRASEL notes that the delivery capacity has been reduced to meet the demand of bars, restaurants, hotels and supermarkets, since the flow of the domestic market is from three to four times higher than domestic production. There has also been an increase in costs that can not be absorbed by the food service sector.

Consequently, Brazilian consumers now pay 50 per cent more for shrimp they buy in supermarkets and 20 per cent more for that consumed at bars and restaurants, the association states.

In a scenario where domestic production can not meet domestic demand, Ecuador emerges as a market with capacity to cover this gap.

ABRASEL believes that Ecuadorian "headless, peeled and frozen" shrimp import is a possible solution, since it also avoids the risk of contamination of Brazilian ponds and sources. It also notes that, after conducting a risk analysis of the import of this product under these conditions, the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply expressed its agreement.

On the other hand, the association stresses that the import process will begin after a long accreditation process of Ecuadorian companies, immediately followed by product labelling -- a technical certification process that eliminates any possibility of environmental risk for the country -- .

This clarification arises because the Brazilian Association of Shrimp Breeders (ABCC) argues that in Ecuador there are ten types of diseases registered in the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), seven of which have never been identified in Brazil. Therefore, it warns that there may be risks of spread for local production, concentrated in the states of Ceara and Rio Grande do Norte.

"Historically, Brazil has never imported shrimp. We do not have any supervision or control of borders, so it is very risky and our greatest fear is the spread of new diseases", emphasized ABCC president, Itamar Rocha, in statements to Valor Economico.

In addition, the leader ensured that with the start-up of new farming centres have the capacity to supply the domestic market, so he regrets that "the possibility of importing the product has again been considered."

Related article:

Possible Ecuadorian shrimp import worries Brazilian producers

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