Interview with Roberto Chamorro General Manager of CAMACO:
During the two days prior to the recent shrimp farming conference in Panama, I was invited by CAMACO (Camaronera de Coclé, SA), the shrimp farm more big country Property of GRUPO CALESA (Compañía Azucarera La Estrella, SA), the largest agro-industrial conglomerate (rice, sugar, livestock, food and shrimp) in Panama, CAMACO has a molecular biology laboratory, two facilities for maturation (with genetic programs), two nurseries, 1,200 hectares of ponds and a processing plant. Together, with its clients, partners and contracts, CAMACO manages 2,500 hectares of shrimp ponds, which represent between 40 and 45 percent of the shrimp farming industry in Panama.
Shrimp News: How did you start to grow shrimp?
Roberto Chamorro: My history in shrimp farming began in 1980, after complete university studies in Fisheries Engineering at the Federal Rural University from Pernambuco, Brazil, with a degree in aquaculture. I returned to my native Panama, where I met Bill More, general manager of Agromarina de Panamá, one of the first farms of shrimp in the Western Hemisphere, at that time owned by Ralston Purina Company He offered me a job at the Veracruz hatchery, where I met and worked with Ron Staha, David Drennan, Joe Mountain, Roland Laramore, Glen Bieber, Franklin Kwai Ben and Luis Arguedas. I worked in Agromarina for more than nine years: in the hatchery, in R & D, in the processing plant and on the farm.
In 1981, without remorse, I left the opportunity to go to Japan for a Ph.D. Due to the great practical experience that I received in Agromarina. In 1985, I became vice president of production during the period in which Granada Corporation of Texas he was the owner of Agromarina. In 1988, during a restructuring, I decided to leave, I started my own consulting company and did shrimp consulting in Honduras, Colombia, Ecuador, Puerto Rico and Panama.
In 1989, I joined a consulting group that works with the Agency of the States United for International Development (USAID) as a specialist in aquaculture development.I was assigned to work in the Shrimp Export Promotion Program in FPX (a federation of non-traditional producers and exporters) in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, with frequent trips to Choluteca, where all the farms of shrimp. My duties include helping the Central Bank of Honduras to administer a export promotion fund for shrimp farming, train bankers in the details of the program and work closely with the Aquaculture Association of Honduras to develop the aquaculture sector, not only shrimp, but also tilapia I am proud to say that the first exports of Honduran tilapia to american market were achieved during my years as an aquaculture specialist for USAID in Honduras.
In 1994, when that project ended, I joined another well-known private group in Honduras: The Deli Group, owned by my friend Peder Jacobson, who hired me to establish a shrimp processing plant. I worked with Peder until 1996, when my children grew up, and then I decided to go back to Panama and start my own deal. With the help of some friends in the industry, I founded a company maturation of shrimp called AR Aquacultura, SA, and exported nauplii to Ecuador, Colombia, Peru, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Mexico and the USA UU. That was a big business until 1999, when the whites arrived in Panama. We never though had an outbreak of white spots in our hatchery, the farms our customers were hit hard and that caused us great problems financial at that time, I had just started a shrimp farm project with my good friend Alex Cohen, whose son Jason was studying aquaculture in Texas A & amp; M. It’s a small 55-hectare farm called White Shrimp Farms. We have been able to produce reasonable and stable crops in the presence of white dots.
Then, in the year 2000, another good friend, Mr. Alberto Villageliú, hired me to do queries about the largest shrimp farm in Panama: Camaronera de Cocle, SA (CAMACO), property of the Chiari Family. At this moment, I am the General Manager ofCAMACO. More than 300 people work with me to achieve our goals of production. My duties include the production of shrimp (maturation, hatchery and fattening), the genetic program, the processing and the sale of the shrimp. In February 2006, I will have 27 years of experience in shrimp farming, and I would not change anything if I had to do it all over again. Well, maybe I would skit-skip the second time.