Honduras-based Aquafinca Saint Peter Fish on Friday forecasts 12 percent growth in 2010.
The company also plans to purchase a tilapia gelatin plant to develop value-added products, including cosmetics, company Vice President Israel Snir said.
Aquafinca expects to produce 17 million pounds of tilapia this year, said Snir.
Honduras posted tilapia exports of $42.5 million (€28.5 million) through the first nine months of this year.
“There is still uncertainty at international level but our doubt is whether prices will recover in the U.S. marke," Snir told the local press in Honduras. "We have already entered that country with frozen tilapia, and that market still needs development, and the problem is, according to our forecasts, the U.S. economy will recover at the end of the first quarter of next year."
Regal Springs-owned Aquafinca will invest in value-added products in 2010, especially byproducts for the cosmetics industry.
“One of my plans is to carry on investing and I don’t have the amount yet, but I intend to buy a plant to produce gelatin from tilapia skin with an export vision. We’re selling tilapia scales in Japan to make hair gel, and this project would avoid this and we would sell the finished product from Honduras. We also export tilapia to Europe and part of the skin that is used to make cosmetics," Snir said.
Regarding the global financial crisis and its impact on the company, Snir said: “The crisis has hit us quite hard. Demand has dropped as have live product prices in the United States but we are confident they will recover. This could have been a record year with 20 percent to 30 percent growth of tilapia exports, but it didn’t happen.
"We fortunately maintained the business without any losses and despite everything we invested $4 million (€2.7 million) in different procedures to make processes more effective and in a freezing plant. We know that this was a long-term investment and we’ll get a return on it in the forthcoming years.”
Publication: Intrafish News
November 21, 2009