WAYZATA, MINNESOTA, US — Cargill and its partner Naturisa S.A. have reached an agreement with Skyvest EC Holding SA to create a joint venture to expand shrimp-feed production in Ecuador.

Cargill first partnered with Naturisa in 2015 to build and operate a shrimp-feed manufacturing facility called Aquacargill del Ecuador.

“Since that time, the Ecuadorian shrimp farming industry has continued to grow, and there is a need to meet the increased demand for high-quality feed,” said Helene Ziv-Douki, president of Cargill’s aqua nutrition business.

Through this new joint venture with Skyvest, Cargill will expand its shrimp-feed production capabilities to own and operate the shrimp-feed production facility currently owned by Skyvest subsidiary Empagran, located in Guayaquil, Ecuador. The feed plant that will be operated by Cargill was built in 2018, has a production capacity of 156,000 tonnes and employs more than 200 people.

“Through this joint venture, Cargill will nearly double its production capacity, and we will improve our capacity to serve our customers and partners. We will invest in this facility and expand our offering of shrimp feeds under the Cargill’s Aquaxcel brand to meet increasing demand for feed among our customers,” said Angel Gomez, managing director of Cargill’s aqua nutrition business in northern Latin America.

The transaction, which is subject to regulatory approvals, is expected to close in the coming months.

Naturisa started its first shrimp farm in 1980 on a 130-hectare property and as expanded to reach 7,500-plus hectares exclusively producing the shrimp species Penaeus vannamei. In 1991, Naturisa acquired the third largest shrimp exporter in Ecuador "Sociedad Nacional de Galápagos-SONGA,” a company that maintains 50% of the total capital. In its integrated growth process, Naturisa has five larviculture laboratories and owns 25% of Aquacargill shares.

 Empagran is a fully integrated Ecuadorian Group dedicated to the entire chain of production of shrimp.