In August 2013, the Brazilian Ministry of Fishing and Agriculture (MPA) revealed that the average Brazilian consumes approximately 9 kilos of fish per year. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, the recommended amount is 12 kilos per person. Therefore, the MPA is offering incentives for national production and expects to turn Brazil into one of worlds largest producers by 2030, with 20 million tons of fish caught per year.
The Continental Waters Aquaculturists Cooperative (COOPECON) hopes to join in on such efforts and do its part to increase the amount of white protein available to the population. In August of this year, its Fish Processing Unit (UBP) was certified by the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply (MAPA) Federal Inspection Service (SIF). The catch of its 53 members will be processed and transformed into fish filets by UBP, which adds value to the product and also allows for improved income return to the aquaculturists of the Bahia Southern Lowlands.
Josedilson Daltro, Federal Agricultural Inspector at MAPA, reinforced the importance of this achievement. “Without SIF, the sale of products of animal origin is prohibited,” explained Daltro. “Furthermore, this certification allows for interstate and international sales. In order for an industry to join this select group, it is necessary to first meet several prerequisites,” he said. In Bahia, only 11 factories from this segment have the MAPA seal to distribute their production. “In addition to the filets, the industry makes it possible to manufacture oil, fish meat pulp and fish flour,” explained José Raimundo de Oliveira, cooperative member and Chair of the Deliberative Council. “This allows the cooperative members to increase their income even more,” he said.
The activities of the COOPECON Processing Plant which has the capacity to process seven tons per day will be accompanied by a federal agricultural inspector or inspection agent associated with MAPA. “The quality of the fish needs to be excellent,” said Dimitrius Carvalho, Industrial Leader at COOPECON a cooperative that is part of the Bahia Southern Lowlands Environmental Protection Area Mosaic Program for Development and Growth Integrated with Sustainability (PDCIS), supported by the Odebrecht Foundation and public and private partners. “If it has the SIF seal than this is because it meets the highest standards required by the Ministry,” said Carvalho.
According to Daltro, MAPA will work in partnership with aims of always providing the consumer white protein of a reliable quality. “We have nothing but congratulations for this initiative of equipping Bahia with a fish factory that meets international standards and for promoting the inclusion of farmers in the Southern Lowlands,” said Daltro.