One of the latest Latin American countries to legalize low-THC cannabis, Ecuador, is looking to hemp grain as a cheaper alternative to corn for its large shrimp industry.
Ecuador is South America’s leader in shrimp production and a big player on the world stage, but corn prices are high and fewer farmers are willing to plant it, preferring instead more profitable commodities like cocoa, according to a March report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service.
In 2019, Ecuador became the top shrimp exporter, with 56% of exports going to China, according to to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Ecuador produced 600,000 tons of shrimp in 2019, and the industry was on the rise heading into 2020, until COVID-19 halted production.
With corn prices high and Ecuador’s wheat industry entirely dependent on imports, “animal-feed producers are increasingly experimenting with and using other corn alternatives such as rice byproducts that are available domestically and imported distillers’ dried grains with solubles,” according to the March Foreign Agricultural Service report.
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