The Minnesota-based agri-giant announced the opening of its new shrimp feed mill in Guayaquil, Ecuador earlier in October. The project is a joint-venture with Naturisa.
Naturisa is a shrimp producer in Ecuador, employing more than 2,000 and producing about 16,000 metric tons of shrimp for export, according to Cargill.
Both companies share an interest in high-quality products, sustainable and responsible businesses practices, and visions for the future development of the aquaculture industry, the company said.
The new feed mill is expected to help Cargill address customer demand and provide value-added solutions, said Adriano Marcon, group leader for Cargill Aqua Nutrition. Supporting production in the country also fits with Cargill’s interest in the sustainable growth of the aquaculture industry.
“Ecuador has earned a reputation as a source of safe and sustainable shrimp – especially since the industry launched the Sustainable Shrimp Partnership initiative earlier this year (based on Aquaculture Stewardship Councils standards),” he told FeedNavigator. “This opening is not just about a new plant. It is about a commitment to support the growth of aquaculture in Ecuador in a sustainable way.”
The country presents a “significant” growth market for Cargill and is one of the top five shrimp producers globally, he said. “Ecuador is also an important exporter of shrimp to Europe, the US and Asia,” he added.
“This investment also shows our commitment to growing in the important Ecuadorian market and supporting the development of Ecuador’s shrimp industry by maximizing its export potential,” he said. “We look forward to partnering with the aquaculture industry and investing in R&D and feed technology so we can grow and innovate together.”
The new facility is Cargill’s first aquafeed plant in Ecuador, said Marcon. It was established to generate feed for the domestic market in Ecuador.
The facility is set to generate about 165,000 tons of feed a year, and about three-quarters of the capacity is dedicated to extruded shrimp feed, he said. “At Cargill, we are committed to providing healthy seafood for today and for future generations by supporting the sustainable growth of the aquaculture industry,” he added.
The amount produced covers about 20% of the annual feed demand in the Ecuadorian market, the company said. The facility will generate two lines of feed, one of the Aquaxcel brand and the other a Purina brand.
“The plant has been outfitted with the latest world-class manufacturing technology to increase employee safety and enhance product quality,” Marcon said. “In constructing the plant, we applied best practices from our other modern facilities around the world, investing significantly to make improvements in employee safety, innovation, efficiency and sustainability.”
Fish oil launch
In addition to the work being done in Ecuador, Cargill also has launched a new aqua feed ingredient, Latitude, which provides a plant-based source of fish oil and is set to become commercially available in Canada and Chile in 2020.
The oil is produced from canola and was intended to help supply the demand for fish oil with a reliable and traceable supply, predictable prices and an amount of EPA, DHA and DPA, the company said. The company also manages the entire supply chain from canola seed through cultivation and oil production.
Salmon feed trials have reportedly demonstrated that 100% of fish oil can be exchanged for the plant-based omega-3 ingredient without altering fish growth, health or the omega-3 levels found in fish tissue, the company said.
“With Latitude, Cargill is combining our aquaculture expertise and canola innovation capabilities to help meet that demand using plant-based Omega-3s in aquafeed, instead of relying on fish oil from over farmed oceans,” said Willie Loh, vice president of market development for Cargill’s global edible oils business in North America. “Latitude will help relieve some of the pressure on wild caught fish while delivering a reliable omega-3 product to aquafeed manufacturers – a win-win for the industry.”