The company announced that it is to build a new trial facility.
Previously, it had purchased Alimentsa, a feed manufacturer based in the region.
The new research facility or Aquaculture Technology Center (ATC), will focus on work with shrimp feed and combine the knowledge of both BioMar and Alimentsa under one house, the company told FeedNavigator.
“This will strengthen our already existing innovation network to help create the next generation of feed.”
However, some details of the facility are not being released at this time, the spokesperson added. “It is too early in the project to talk about specifics to do with the facility and its in-depth focus areas.”
The $119m purchase of Alimentsa delivered BioMar 70% of the Ecuadorian feed company.
One aspect of the tie-up was to solidify BioMar’s regional footprint Carlos Diaz, CEO of BioMar Group, told us at that time.
“Ecuador is the biggest shrimp market in Latin America and one of the biggest in the world,” he said. “Also, when looking at the different markets, Ecuador produces shrimp in a very efficient and sustainable way, [there is] still room for improvement, of course, and definitely room for growth.”
The new research facility in Ecuador will be one of a network that BioMar operates, the company said. It also has aquatic research centers in Chile, Denmark and Norway.
The center is one part of the company’s effort to move into several new geographies and work with new species, said Havard Jorgensen, global R&D director. That expansion requires an increase in research and development work.
In addition to a focus on work with shrimp, the new center is intended to allow for improving set-up and speeding take-to-market, he said.
The company previously said that high-performing diets and functional feed for shrimp are expected to play a role in BioMar’s portfolio. The investment in the research center supports that intention.
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“This is a part of our overall expansion strategy,” said Diaz, in a release on the project.
“We basically take the required decisions to build a strong, competitive and innovative foothold in the shrimp market,” he said. “The investment in Ecuador is a tangible outcome of a much greater plan for innovation in BioMar.”
Additionally, the company’s global research and development budget is set to grow by about 20% in 2018, he said. That expansion is in addition to previous support for global research the company has already made.
“Ecuador has developed into one of the most important shrimp-producing nations and has in many aspects taken alternative roads,” said Diaz. “This makes it a very interesting hub for product development.”
The company has found that innovative feed technologies can be generated when local market potential is combined with scientific mythology and in-depth aquaculture knowledge from other regions, he said.