The production of sturgeon meat and caviar was able to withstand the commercial attacks of the war between russia and ukraine. The first was a strong buyer of meat and, despite the conflict, maintains the dynamism of previous years. Also, the caviar industry achieves better buyers abroad and seeks to position itself as Uruguayan brand.
At the beginning of the year, uncertainty reached the local sturgeon farmers. There was the possibility that Russia, the largest importer of sturgeon meat from Uruguay, would stop purchases due to possible trade sanctions and the impossibility of having foreign currency for imports. The only shipment of the year was made by Black River Caviar (Río Negro Sturgeons) in January with the sale of 8.8 tons and an amount of US$ 90,798. The price per kilo was US$10.3. But it wasn’t just one because of the market crash. The company’s commercial and logistics manager, Rodolfo Laporta, told The Observer that in that country there is only one importer of sturgeon meat from Black River and that is why they seek to optimize shipments.
“Orders for meat remain firm and work is underway to complete another shipment,” he said. The company exports with FOB (free on board) prices and the client is responsible for the freight cost. It is for this reason that it is sought to complete containers to carry out shipments.
He indicated that the payment for the January export was received without inconvenience. “The strategy was to try to sell to a single client, given the risk and volatility. There were at least three customers fighting over the same product,” Laporta said.
He added that if the estuary doubled its meat production it would also place it in Russia. But that does not depend on a productive improvement, but on the maturation of the females. “They don’t all mature at the same time. We depend on what is produced from caviar to be able to have meat, ”she explained. This year the company achieved something that until now it had not done.
“We incorporated the sale of males, small fish, which are sold whole, into the market. They have less value, but in volume it is important”, he added.
At the same time, caviar production is also holding steady and has more interested. Black River Caviar exported 3 tons of caviar for US$786,413 in the first eight months of the year. The price per kilo was US$490.3.
The main exports went to USA. To that country were 795 kilos with a price per kilo of US$ 545.36. Then it was located Australia with 510 kilos with a value per kilo of US$ 416.28. The third destination was France with just over 300 kilos at US$480.44 per kilo.
The other caviar exporting company is Plata Estuary. It is located in the Rincón del Bonete reservoir, in Río Negro. It has a maximum production capacity of 10 tons of caviar per year.
So far this year, it has exported 804 kilos of caviar roe, with a turnover of US$ 304,111. The main destination was Japan with 226 kilos and a value per kilo of US$ 422.19. The second buyer Plata Estuary it was Australia with 211 kilos and a unit price of US$ 383.36. France, Mexico and the United States also bought the product from him.
Between the two companies they have exported 3.8 tons so far this year. In 2021, foreign sales of caviar totaled 6.4 tons for US$2.5 million. Exports were distributed among 18 destinations and the three main ones were the United States, France and Australia, which paid around US$400 per kilo.
Laporta said that the caviar is selling well abroad. “The company is assured of selling all of the year’s production, which will be slightly lower than last year,” he said.
In 2021, the company reached a production of approximately 4.5 tons of caviar and by the end of this year it expects to approach 4 tons.
“This year it was possible to improve prices and choose customers better,” he said. What the company is looking for is to impose the brand in international sales markets. “There are many buyers who are distributors and the aim is to consolidate the brand. Then there are other customers that we choose not to sell to,” she said.
The businessman stressed that Australia is positioning itself as a buyer of Uruguayan caviar. With a client from that country there were already deals closed for 700 kilos and an additional order of 300 kilos arrived.
“That buyer is going to have priority in delivery because he sells the brand,” he said.
Uruguay is the only exporter of caviar from South America.