By Kurt Campbell
With a reported deficit of shrimp on the local market due to a decline in catches, the Hubu Aqua Farm is hoping to not only fill that void but to export the first commercial shipment of high-grade organic shrimp to Europe by the end of the year.
Since announcing the project last year, Hubu Aqua Farm Incorporated has expended some US$1.4 million to set up 10 acres of ponds at Hubu on the East Bank of Essequibo and a hatchery closer to Parika.
Director, Simon Shaw, told the News Room on Friday that the hatchery will be able to produce five million larvae on a monthly basis and will be fully operational by June with the farm to come on stream by August, making commercial export possible as early as September.
Hubu Aqua Farm is currently participating in the ongoing Agri – Investment Forum and Expo at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre.
There, people are being educated about this new opportunity for Guyana’s shrimp production capacity.
With a total of 600 acres of land available at Hubu, the company will grow different types of shrimp, including the Giant River Prawns, the White Leg Shrimp and the Asian Tiger Prawns.
Shaw said he has already engaged fish processors in the local market but noted that the company will be producing so much soon that it will be more than enough for the local market.
Shaw believes that just like Ecuador, Guyana’s export of shrimp and prawns can reach billions annually.
“Ecuador exports $5 billion in shrimp per year and it is quite feasible that Guyana can do the same,” Shaw said.
He explained that Hubu Aqua Farm, with its 600 acres, will only be able to service a small part of this.
“That’s why we are out here to encourage other people to enter the market. We want to train people and explore the risk and benefits to ensure that more people join,” Shaw added.
This particular project involves the use of nanobubbles technology.
Using a micro-nano bubble generator, the company intends to treat the water with ultra-fine bubbles as a means of natural anti-oxidant to keep the water clean.
Shaw said this is to particularly address the concern that shrimp production now involves the use of antibiotics and fungicides.
“It means it will keep the prawns healthy and we don’t have to use antibiotics or fungicides.
“Our product will be fully organic certified,” Shaw said and he emphasised that the company was looking to export the highest quality prawns to the European market.
Shaw, who worked in the oil and gas industry for some 40 years, came to Guyana to do just that and was first intent on the gas to protein project where he would use the gas and turn it into animal feed.
He said shrimp and prawns are some of the best animals to consume that feed and he teamed up with a Guyanese to start the Hubu Aqua Farm.
When the entire 600 acres of land is developed into ponds, the investment is said to total some US$15 million.