Jamaican aquaculture firm wants to compete with Vietnam for EU basa market
Algix Jamaica Limited is entering the export market for farmed basa fish (Pangasius hypopthalmus), competing directly with Southeast Asian suppliers, particularly Vietnam.
Algix, with Jamaican operations but based in Meridian, Mississippi, U.S.A., currently produces tilapia in 300 acres of fish ponds for the Jamaican market. It hopes to produce 100 tons of basa monthly for the local and export market, news reports said.
At the official opening of its multimillion-dollar investment facility for basa production earlier this year, in St. Elizabeth, Jamaica, the company stated it would be seeking to enter the Indian, Brazilian, European, and North American markets and would be contracting Jamaican fish farmers to increase its production.
Algix's team visited Vietnam to learn how to cultivate the basa fish in local conditions and in a controlled environment, according to Jamaica newspaper reports. The company claims it is “already achieving a survival ratio for eggs spawned of 60 to 70 percent [while] the standard international norm is 50 to 55 percent,” according to a local news report.
According to a Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report, the European Union remains the largest market for Vietnam exports of basa, which it described as being “now a highly competitive, high-value white fish product on many markets.”
Technology for basa aquaculture is still evolving, as is the market for the fish, the FAO report said.
“The farming of Pangasius hypophthalmus has seen it emerge as a commercial freshwater species that is now a significant component of global whitefish supplies,” it said. However, “further market research is required (and effective dissemination to producers) on price trends and comparative advantage in domestic and international markets,” as well as on marketing and distribution infrastructure, optimal location of cold storage facilities, and production strategies to exploit seasonal price variation.