Brazilian fish farm. (Photo: Aguas Claras)
Brazil´s seafood output could eventually rival leading producers': Rabobank
Tuesday, February 12, 2013, 23:50 (GMT + 9)
Brazil has what it takes to compete with long-time seafood producers such as Thailand, Norway and China -- yet it must still surpass considerable obstacles, asserts a report by Rabobank.
Obstacles include the thick red tape keeping licences away from people who wish to launch an aquaculture operation, a lack of biosafety standards, low output and a relatively underdeveloped feed industry. Still, according to Rabobank, private and governmental investments will drive the Brazilian aquaculture sector forward.
In the face of growing global demand and fisheries that are not catching up and in face dwindling, Brazil has enough going for it to rival leading seafood farmers such as China, India, Thailand, Vietnam and Norway.
Rabobank analyst Guilherme Melo told that Brazil’s 3.5 million km2-big exclusive economic zone (EEZ), its 8,500 km-long coastline and fresh waters are perfect for aquaculture operations similar to those of South east Asia and China, which currently make up over 80 per cent of the global production.
"Moreover, Brazil's vast grain production, along with its large potential for further growth, provide the country with an advantage in production of species that consume a vegetarian diet, as feed costs make up around 60 per cent of the total cost of fish production", added Melo.
But aquaculture growth is still “crawling” -- in 2010, its total seafood production amounted to only 1.26 million tonnes, of which, 70 per cent came from ocean and continental catches and only 479,000 tonnes from aquaculture. At the same time, aquaculture production has developed rapidly in recent years.
According to Rabobank, Brazil has the following bottlenecks to get through:
- Regulation: Slashing red tape to obtain the permits/licenses necessary, and instilling biosafety standards for production of most species.
- Low yields and size heterogeneity: This could be partially solved if the relationship between the links of the chain were better coordinated and integrated.
- Underdeveloped feed industry: Poor quality feed and high prices have resulted from raising many species with a wide range of eating habits and living environments.
- Infrastructure: Many areas allocated to aquaculture farms are far from transportation hubs or even roads and ports, which poses additional challenges and makes operations more expensive.
- Public Information: The lack of public information about the sector may have kept investors from better assessing the potential of this market.
Despite these challenges, Rabobank believes that apart from having all the tools necessary to boost supply, the rising domestic seafood consumption combined with opportunities in the export sector will together place Brazil on the radar of the leaders in the global seafood companies, and may even hearten Brazilian meat giants to switch over to aquaculture.
By Natalia Real