AquaChile, BioMar invest in Costa Rica, tilapia
By Chris Dove, SeafoodSource contributing editor, reporting from Malaga, Spain
27 July, 2012
With an initial investment of EUR 12.3 million (USD 15 million) via parent company Grupo ACI, one of the largest global suppliers of fresh tilapia fillets to the United States, AquaChile has joined forces with BioMar Group, a leading feed supplier for salmon, trout, sea bass and sea bream, to install a new tilapia research center, trial facility and feed plant in Costa Rica.
The new plant is the most modern in Central and South America, supplying aquaculture producers in Costa Rica, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Honduras, Mexico, Panama and other countries across the region.
A central platform of the joint venture is that AquaChile and BioMar bring to market high quality products with a green profile meeting strict sustainability and food security certification.
Feed manufacture for the aquaculture industry and export markets are geared toward tropical and subtropical freshwater and marine species using the latest technologies and reviving the region’s labor market. Alfonso Marquez de la Plata, CEO of Empresas AquaChile, said, “The opening of this plant is part of the internationalization of Empresas AquaChile and replicates the knowledge we have successfully developed in Chile’s salmon industry.”
Asked about the timing of the Costa Rica investment given challenging global economic conditions, Marquez de la Plata explained: “Grupo ACI and BioMar defined the construction of the new plant more than two years ago because there is a strategic opportunity in developing new and more efficient diets for tilapia, which is one of the fastest growing seafood items in the world.”
AquaChile is 80 percent owned by Grupo ACI, centered on tilapia production, processing, marketing and exports to the U.S. and Europe via subsidiaries AQUA Corporación Internacional (a 600-hectare farm nurturing tilapia from birth to 1,000 kilograms weight); Terrapez (processing plant that receives the live tilapia and converts mainly into fresh tilapia fillets); and Rain Forest Aquaculture (U.S.-based international marketing operations).
Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year with Group headquarters in Denmark, Felipe Ureta, VP of BioMar Americas, underlined the importance of developing productive linkages with local raw material suppliers for the benefit of both parties.
“We produce food for tilapia, which is for a market of local value-added product, by means of technologies and environmentally friendly processes, providing a premium product. Our decision to invest in Costa Rica is our environmental philosophy and the green image of the country makes an alliance more viable,” he explained.
Production will introduce a completely new range of diets supported by an advanced nutritional strategy. “One of our strengths at international level to be implemented in Costa Rica is research and development as part of the project, providing knowledge transfer to our country from countries with an aquaculture tradition,” added Ureta.
27 July, 2012