Central American fish and seafood companies ready for the European market
Since 2018, the European Union (EU), the Secretariat for Central American Economic Integration (SIECA) and the Centre for the Promotion of Imports from developing countries (CBI) have been working together to strengthen economic integration in Central America. Thanks to the support of local partners, the dedication of experts and the enthusiasm of entrepreneurs, results are starting to show. In this article, we look at fish and seafood companies. CAMARSUR and ECOS SHRIMP GROUP both took part in CBI’s Connecting Central America project and have achieved outstanding results.
Individual coaching vital to export success
CAMARSUR is a family business with women co-ownership. It is dedicated to cultivating and exporting Pacific white shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei). The local community prizes the company for the direct and indirect employment it generates. In 2019, CAMARSUR joined CBI’s Connecting Central America project with the goal of exporting to European markets.
When talking about the project’s most important activities, CAMARSUR mentions the CBI sector expert’s visit to the farm and factory, and the coaching the company got. It was very valuable to get individual coaching on:
- how international markets and buyer requirements work;
- how to enter a specific market;
- how to negotiate with potential customers; and
- how to define a brand.
The project’s online training sessions also taught CAMARSUR how to interact with potential customers on online platforms. The coaching, along with the sector expert’s observations during on-site visits, allowed the company to take action and improve its production and sales.
Meeting customers at trade fairs
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, CAMARSUR visited a European trade fair via the Connecting Central America project. There, a CBI sector expert introduced the company to potential customers. Now, CAMARSUR is negotiating with these companies and may send its first container to Europe this year. This April, the company looks forward to meeting these importers again at Seafood Expo Global (SEG) in Barcelona. CAMARSUR will exhibit at the Central America pavilion in Hall 4, stand B201.
Would you like to know more about CAMARSUR and its successes? Take a look at its success story video!
Success despite the pandemic
ECOS SHRIMP GROUP is an organic shrimp company from Costa Rica. The company took part in the Connecting Central America project to better understand the South European market. It was especially interested in getting more direct contacts in the Netherlands, Spain, Italy and France.
One way to get more contacts is to attend trade fairs. But, due to the pandemic, most trade fairs were cancelled. To help ECOS SHRIMP GROUP, a CBI sector expert organised online meetings to connect the company with potential European buyers. This had fantastic results; ECOS SHRIMP GROUP found a new buyer, and their sales grew despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
Expanding the business
Thanks to the support of the Connecting Central America project, ECOS SHRIMP GROUP has also expanded its operation in Costa Rica. The company bought the processing plant that was its main customer. This allows it to export directly to customers in Europe and the United States. More control over the process also meant that the company could keep its employees during the pandemic. The employees are thankful as it is difficult to find jobs where the business is located. ECOS SHRIMP GROUP plans to keep improving processes at the farm, factory and processing plant level. This way, it can offer more value-added products from Costa Rica to customers in Europe.
Would you like to know more about ECOS SHRIMP GROUP and its successes? Take a look at its success story video!
Meet the companies
CAMARSUR and ECOS SHRIMP GROUP and other companies from the Connecting Central America project will present their quality products at Seafood Expo Global from 26-28 April. Seafood Expo Global in Barcelona is the world’s largest seafood trade fair.
Visit the companies in Hall 4/B201 at the Central American Pavilion.
Connecting Central America
The European Union (EU) co-finances the Connecting Central America project. The Secretariat for Economic Integration of Central America (SIECA) coordinates it.