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Farm Focus: Meet the world’s first organic shrimp farm

'The organic shrimp market is very niche, but demand is now higher than supply,' exec tells IntraFish.

Ecuadorian shrimp farmer Omarsa, the third largest producer in the country, was the world’s first shrimp business to start operating an organic farm in 2007.

The company has the necessary requirements to farm organic shrimp in its three farming sites, although at the moment the organic production is only carried out in its Chongon facilities.

At this farm, stocking densities are around 15 shrimp per square meter, and it has a farming surface of 914 hectares.

“Demand of organic shrimp is very niche, the product is especially valued in Europe, mainly France and Italy, but it’s a very stable market and we’re seeing demand surpassing supply right now,” Omar Lopez, technical director of Omarsa’s Chongon, farm told IntraFish during a recent visit.

The biggest challenges for organic production are the limitations, Lopez said. “The rules are quite clear, and we don’t have much room to play in regards to feed composition, the ingredients that we can use are very limited.”

Shrimp growth is also limited due to the organic protein in the feed. In this production, shrimp will grow to 20 grams, in a farming cycle lasting 120 days.

Omarsa farms 600,000 pounds of organic shrimp a month in average that it sells at prices 30 percent above prices of non-organic shrimp.

In 2016, it harvested 5.4 million pounds, and it expects its production to increase to 8.3 million pounds in this site in 2017.

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