Revenue from fish exports breaks record in Brazil

Apr, 17, 2023 Posted by Gabriel Malheiros

Week 202319

Brazil’s fish export revenue increased by 15% last year, reaching a record high of US$23.8 million, according to a report by Embrapa Pesca e Aquiculture in partnership with the Brazilian Association of Aquaculture (Peixe BR). Tilapia shipments, which accounted for 98% of the total, increased by 28% to US$23.2 million.

According to Manoel Pedroza Filho, a researcher at Embrapa, the growth in supply, particularly of tilapia, and the search for new sales channels amid stagnation in domestic demand have boosted exports.”Progress in the sector is due to increased professionalism and companies scaling-up production. This has allowed us to enter the international market, which is exceptionally demanding in terms of quality and volume,” he explained.

According to Francisco Medeiros, President of Peixe BR, the volume of national fish farming grew by 2% to 860,000 metric tons. He stated that tilapia dominates the business, but native fish species remain highly relevant.

Embrapa and Peixe BR project a substantial increase in sales in the second half of the year. In addition, the prospect of reopening the European market to Brazilian fish, which has been closed since 2018, is one of the factors fueling expectations of further expansion in 2023.

Last year, the first semester performed better than the second, with exports totaling US$14.3 million, more than double the exports of the same period in 2021.

Please find below the track record of Brazilian fish exports (hs codes 0300-0305) seen between Jan 2019 and Feb 2023, according to the DataLiner market intelligence service.

Brazilian fish exports | Jan 2019 – Feb 2023 | TEUs

Source: DataLiner (click here to request a demo)

Top Destinations

Just over 80% of exports went to the United States, which imported the equivalent of US$19 million, an increase of 43% compared to the previous year. Canada came in a distant second as a buyer of Brazilian fish, accounting for 5% of the total.

The Embrapa researcher reported that most exports to the United States were frozen fish, fresh or refrigerated, and frozen fillets. “In the case of frozen fillets, exports increased by 80%, confirming a growth trend in this category that we had detected throughout 2021,” he highlighted.

Among the states that exported fish in 2022, Paraná led the way with 58% of the total. Mato Grosso do Sul and Bahia followed with 18% and 11% shares, respectively.

Revenue from tambaqui fish shipments was the second highest, totaling US$268,000, a decrease of 51% compared to 2021. The species of the surubim category ranked third, with US$114,000.

Gleriani Ferreira, a researcher and professor at FIA Business School, said the freshwater fish market could be much larger. The main difficulty, she explained, is the lack of federally inspected slaughterhouses (SIF) in the Amazon region. Certification allows the sale of animal products throughout the country and in the foreign market.

“A lot of bureaucracy is involved in granting licenses for slaughterhouses in the region. I have followed projects that took years, especially in Amazonas state. The license never comes through,” the researcher said. With the help of Embrapa researchers, she advocates for the government to map areas that could benefit from industrial activities and facilitate conditions for entrepreneurs.

Amazonian fish, according to Gleriani, could serve as raw material for other economic segments in addition to their gastronomic potential. “Arapaima, whose leather is as thick as cattle skin, could be processed to make oil and flour for pet food. These by-products must also receive more attention for this chain to grow,” says the researcher. She believes Brazil possesses all the necessary ingredients to create a product with high-added value, tracking, and a sustainability seal.

Source: Valor Econômico

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