Salmon farming, one of the most important economic engines of the last three decades in Chile

Chile has generated an added value of US$ 5,282 million through salmon farming, which represents 2.1% of the national GDP.
Raphael Bergoeing. Photo by: Salmon Chile.
Raphael Bergoeing. Photo by: Salmon Chile.

Research carried out by the economist Raphael Bergoeing of the Universidad de Chile reveals that salmon farming has been the main source of economic development in the south of the country over the last 30 years. This report concludes that Chile, which is the second largest producer of salmon in the world, has generated an added value of US$ 5,282 million as a result of salmon farming, which represents 2.1% of the national GNP.

Chile stands out for three exports during the period from 1996 to 2019: copper, lithium and salmon. After three decades, the importance of salmon farming in Chile's economic and social development has been proved.

These data are part of the conclusions of the study entitled "Economic and Social Contribution of Salmon Farming in Chile and its Contribution to the Development of the Southern South", prepared by the economist and academic of the University of Chile, Raphael Bergoeing, with the collaboration of the economist of the Catholic University Juan Esteban Doña.

The research has been based on a review of objective and verifiable data from official sources. The Central Bank, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the National Statistics Institute (INE), and Subpesca, are some of them.

In detail

In his presentation, Raphael Bergoeing stated that "according to the data observed, salmon farming has been the main engine of economic growth in the south of the country in the last 30 years". Furthermore, he explains that this data comes from the review of the economic statistics of Los Lagos and Aysén between the years 1996 and 2019, and of Magallanes during the period 2013-2019, concluding that "salmon farming is the sector that contributed the most to the increase of the Gross Regional Domestic Product (RGDP) during the periods indicated". Additionally, among other examples, it adds Magallanes, which is 2019 "was the sixth productive sector (7.8% of the GDPR), after only 6 years of its introduction on a commercial scale".

Moreover, this report estimates that by 2021, direct employment in salmon farming represented 9.3%, 6.9%, and 4.8% of regional employment. Likewise, the overall average monthly liquid income of workers in the salmon industry exceeds the national average income (10% at the national level and between 20 and 40% higher than in the south). Besides, the average income of women in this sector is higher than the total national level.

Presentation of the report. Photo by: Salmon Chile.

Special guests from the industry

The president of SalmonChile, Arturo Clément, pointed out the work made to contribute to the national economy. He also remarked on the importance of keeping working on the development of salmon farming in Chile, in "conditions for sustainability and new investments by the small, medium and large companies that are part of the value chain of our activity".

The governor of Los Lagos, Patricio Vallespín, was also at the presentation. He said that he felt it was "very important to have information that enables the value and contribution of the salmon farming industry to the southern part of Chile to be fully appreciated". From his point of view, the report also serves as a driving force to create even better conditions.

Finally, Bergoeing assured that "this sector has developed without requiring greater resources from the State, such as the subsidy to plantations that the forestry sector has or the extensive investments in infrastructure in roads and ports and the support programs for producers that benefit fruit growing". A fact which highlights particularly the growth of the activity and its contribution towards development in the south of Chile.

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