When it comes to commercial aquaculture, a lot of people have some legitimate concerns – fish farms can introduce antibiotics, anti-algal chemicals, and concentrated fish waste into the ocean. Escaped fish can upset the local ecological balance, and wild fish still need to be caught in large numbers as a food source for some species of farmed fish. While there have been recent efforts to address the first two concerns, the fish-in-the-fish-food problem is now being taken on in two different research projects, which are aimed at replacing the fish content in fish feed with more sustainable ingredients. Scientists at Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) have spent the past ten years developing a feed additive that does away with those fishy ingredients, a diet of microbes for prawns.
Traditionally, farmed prawns have been fed pellets that contain some fishmeal and fish oil. These are included mainly to help the animals grow large quickly. The additive contains marine microorganisms that have been bred in captivity, and which have been shown to play a crucial role in prawns’ growth process. In a large-scale field test, the product was mixed with an existing commercial feed (taking the place of the usual fish meal and oil), then used in ponds at an Australian prawn farm. According to CSIRO, the additive-consuming black tiger prawns grew an average of 30 percent faster than their regular-food-eating counterparts, plus they were healthier.
Meanwhile, scientists at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science have developed an alternative feed that consists entirely of plant-based ingredients. Fishmeal and oil are commonly used in the pellets eaten by carnivorous fish such as sea bream and striped bass. Instead of fishmeal, the experimental new feed includes corn, wheat, and soy. Taking the place of fish oil is a combination of lipids (fatty acids) from algae, amino acid supplements, and soybean or canola oil. Not only have test fish apparently thrived on the feed, but their flesh reportedly also has polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) and mercury levels that are a hundred times lower than those found in fish consuming regular pellets containing wild-caught fish. This would allow consumers to eat striped bass twice a week, as opposed to the once every two weeks currently recommended.
USSEC consultant Pablo Adreani, founder of AgriPAC Consultants in Argentina, will present the outlook for South American agriculture at the AgServe Agriculture Outlook Summit in St. Louis on March 9.
Mr. Adreani, also a consultant to the United Soybean Board (USB), understands the dynamics of South American agriculture on U.S. producers and agribusinesses.
Upon the Trump administration’s announcement of their intent to withdraw from the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the American Soybean Association (ASA) issued a statement. Please click here to read ASA’s news release.
“USSEC and the U.S. Soy industry will continue to move forward on behalf of U.S. growers – building markets, relationships, and partnerships around the globe,” stated Roz Leeck, USSEC Marketing Director – Market Access / Freedom to Operate.
USSEC participated in the Pakistan Edible Oil Conference (PEOC) in Karachi, Pakistan on January 21.
USSEC CEO Jim Sutter spoke to attendees on the topic “Soybeans: Sustainably Produced and Packed with Protein.”
In addition to talking about the sustainable manner in which U.S. soybeans are produced and explaining how sustainability is a new benchmark, Mr. Sutter also discussed growing protein consumption around the world and how to evaluate protein.
The presentation’s positive message focused on how consumers are demanding sustainably produced products, which U.S. Soy can deliver.
In 2015, Egypt’s aquaculture industry produced 1.3 million metric tons (MMT) of fish, consuming approximately 1 million tons of soybean meal. As the industry grows, the Egyptian economy faces new challenges.
In November 2016, the Egyptian pound, which was traditionally pegged to the U.S. dollar, was floated; that move has reduced the value of the pound by almost 50 percent, impacting the price of ingredients for the aqua industry and, consequently, the price of aqua feed.
To assist the Egyptian aqua industry, USSEC consultant Tim O’Keefe of Aqua-Food Technologies, traveled to Egypt to meet with top aquafeed producers to provide insights on least cost formulations as a means to control the soaring prices of feed.
USSEC Aquaculture Contractor – Egypt Salah Taher accompanied Mr. O’Keefe during his visit. The two met with representatives from Skretting, Aller Aqua, Cairo Poultry Group, and Koudjis Kapo.
Through these meetings, the team learned that the prices of fish have increased to meet the increasing cost production. The Egyptian aquaculture market is expected to continue growing at 8 to 10 percent each year as Egyptians continue to favor the consumption of fish over poultry and beef.
The Egyptian per capita consumption of fish in 2015 accounted for 21 kilograms (kg) per capita higher than the world average, which is approximately 19 kg per capita.
A second visit is scheduled in May 2017 to deliver training on least cost formulations for aqua feeds.
USSEC participated in the 11th China International Oils and Oilseeds Conference in south China’s Guangzhou City on November 9. American Soybean Association (ASA) director Sam Butler served as one of the panelists to discuss U.S. soybean production, soybean price trends, and the oils and oilseeds market.
The insights brought by domestic and international guest speakers attracted more than 1,000 participants to the event, including all of U.S. Soy’s key local customers and many of their downstream feed traders and dealers. The presentations delivered by U.S. soybean growers providing the latest soybean production information in the U.S. and elaborating on U.S. farmers’ marketing strategies were well received by the audience and the organizers. U.S. soybean growers presented the methods and techniques used in U.S. sustainable agriculture and reassured the Chinese audience, especially the end users, of the present and future reliability and sustainability of the U.S. soybean supply.
After the conference, Mr. Butler travelled to south China’s Guangxi province to visit two local customers, including Great Ocean Oils & Grains Industries (Fangchenggang) Co., Ltd., of Yihai Kerry Group and Huiyu Grains and Oils Industry Co., Ltd., of Jiusan Group (Huiyu Company) in Fangchenggang city. He discussed U.S. soybean production and quality in 2015 and 2016 with executives from the two local oil producers and stressed that amino acids are a better measure to evaluate the protein profile. Xiaoping Zhang, USSEC Country Director – China; Dr. Richard Han, USSEC Technical Director – Animal Utilization; and Yantian Zeng, USSEC Marketing Program Manager, escorted Mr. Butler on the two-day trip.
The China International Oils and Oilseeds Conference is an annual event jointly organized by Dalian Commodity Exchange (DCE) and Bursa Malaysia since 2006. The conference provides industry professionals with the latest oils and oilseeds information across a wide spectrum including production, processing and market outlook, among others. USSEC has sponsored this conference for more than 8 years.
Despite a budget reduction that took effect in 2017, Indonesia’s Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF) has continued to support the development of offshore mariculture in Indonesia. In addition to rehabilitating 1,000 cages, the ministry, in cooperation with state-owned company Perindo Management, will build offshore marine cages operation in three different locations in Indonesia to promote the offshore mariculture system as well optimizing resources and improving seafood production, technology dissemination, and business diversifications (nursery), in addition to improving community income.
The locations selected for offshore mariculture farming are marine waters around Karimun Jawa in the Java Sea, marine waters around Cilacap and Pangandaran in the Indian Ocean, and Sabang Island in Aceh. The cages are expected to support the development of sea bass, pompano and cobia.
Each of the 6 cages, which are 50 meters in diameter, is expected to produce 500 metric tons (MT) per crop, thus targeting an additional 1500 MT in fish production from the three locations. Continued support from the government on mariculture development is in line with USSEC’s policy to support offshore mariculture. Mariculture production will increase the utilization of quality feed, including potential use of U.S. soybean meal in aquafeed.
USSEC recently participated in the 57th Japanese Vegetable Oil Industry New Year Event, kicking off 2017. Japan Oilseed Processors Association (JOPA), Japan Rice Bran Oil Industry Association, Japan Margarine Industry Association, Japan Oil & Fat Importers & Exporters Association, Japan Oil & Fat Wholesalers’ Association, and Japan Mayonnaise Manufacturers’ Association jointly organized this event. Nearly 500 particpants, ranging from oil manufacturers, wholesalers, traders, governments, and other relevant industries, attended this large event to pledge further progress of the Japanese vegetable oil industry together.
USSEC Country Director – Japan Mitsuyuki Nishimura, and Masako Tateishi, USSEC North Asia Regional Human Utilization Coordinator and HU Director – Japan represented the U.S. Soy industry.
During a congratulatory speech made by Takao Imamura, chairman of JOPA, and president and representative director of Nisshin Oillio Group, several important matters were noted as to what the Japanese vegetable oil industry needs to promptly prepare in order to respond to possible changes in external environments in 2017, including the next U.S. president’s plan to withdraw from the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and a possible transition to direct discussion, an evaluation plan of mandatory country of origin labeling for all Japanese processed foods, and a plan for mandatory implementation of Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) for food safety in Japan. Mr. Imamura also stressed the importance of further growing vegetable oil and sustainability demands throughout the industry because a vital food source is necessary in order for all generations to maintain health and to adjust proper physical function.
During a conversation between JOPA, USSEC, and the Foreign Agricultural Services (FAS) Tokyo team during the reception, the executive director of JOPA, Akira Saito, said, ”One of JOPA’s goals for 2017 is to restore soybean oil demands so that we are going to further consolidate our U.S. – Japan partnership. Let’s take a group photo to pledge such cooperation!!”
In 2015, Japan imported over 3.24 million metric tons (MT) of soybeans, of which U.S. enjoys a 72 percent market share. USSEC Japan will continue to work with the Japanese vegetable oil and soyfoods industries, both of which are essential ingredients for Japanese foods.
USSEC’s partnership activities with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) paid off this year when Korea’s largest trade organization of food-grade soybean end-users announced they would require the U.S. Soybean Sustainability Protocol (SSAP) certificate. In its March 2016 tender announcement for 7,651 metric tons (MT) of U.S. non-GMO identity preserved soybeans, the Korea Federation of Tofu Cooperatives (KFTC) added the certificates to the list of documents suppliers must provide.
Wisconsin-headquartered DeLong Company, as well as Knewtson Soy Products in Minnesota, both USSEC members, are two of the 45 companies spanning 17 states that are pre-registered to use SSAP certificates.
DeLong’s Brandon Bickham, a USSEC director, says, “We are using the SSAP in Japan, Taiwan, Korea, and Vietnam as a marketing tool from our side and at our customers’ request in some instances.”
“The large customers seem to want everything that is available to them for advertising and food safety image,” says Wayne Knewtson, president of Knewtson Soy Products.
Launched in 2013, the SSAP allows U.S. exporters to efficiently and cost-effectively communicate the sustainability of U.S. Soy to buyers worldwide. In January 2016, soy exports certified through the SSAP hit a record two million metric tons in the 2015/16 marketing year. The SSAP provides U.S. Soy exporters with proof of, among other sustainability-related criteria, reductions in energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, and soil erosion of soybeans produced in the United States.
USSEC’s Market Access Program (MAP) – funded efforts include bringing a team of Korean soybean crushing and feed mill buyers to the United States to learn about the superior quality of U.S. soybeans as well as their sustainability. With USDA Foreign Market Development (FMD) funds, USSEC staff also conducts seminars and other trade servicing activities in North Asia and other locations where they highlight the sustainability of U.S. Soy.
USSEC and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) are helping U.S. agriculture to be the store where international customers want to shop. U.S. high-value food grade soybean marketers liken international buyers to U.S. customers who go to a store because it offers a preferred or unique product. If the customer learns to love that store, then they will become loyal and shop for even more products.
With USDA and USSEC assistance, companies such as SK Food International and Natural Products Inc., both USSEC members, are doing their part to cultivate this preference for U.S. specialty soybeans. U.S. Soy competitors also pursue the Asia and Pacific region’s soy food market that according to Technavio’s Global Soy Food Market 2016-2020 analysis was valued at $17 billion in 2015. Technavio projects the Asia and Pacific regional market will reach $24 billion by 2020, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7 percent. The need for soy protein ingredients to fuel that region’s soy foods sector will grow at an even faster pace — reaching an estimated 10 percent CAGR.
To capture this business, USSEC works with Foreign Market Development (FMD) -supported trade services to constantly monitor the markets and policies.
“USSEC is doing a good job of helping us make the necessary changes to meet the customer,” says Natural Products General Manager Paul Lang. “The way grain moves into Korea is a government-controlled process. If someone wants to do business in Korea, then they have to stay in tune with their government. FAS and USSEC are on the ground. We expect them to know the current situation of the law, the standards and what changes.”
USDA FMD-funded activities allowed SK and other U.S. specialty soybean exporters to meet overseas food manufacturers.
“The biggest benefit from our USSEC relationship is creating new leads and the connection to new buyers,” says SK Marketing Coordinator Tara Froemming.
“It is good to have the USSEC support of these missions,” she concludes.
Last August, USSEC and Cargill teamed up to conduct a seminar that introduced intensive pond aquaculture (IPA) technology to Cargill farm customers in Hưng Yên, a province of Vietnam. Based on the knowledge they gained from the seminar and with the support of Nguyen Huu Tho, Cargill technical manager, farmers started to construct IPA systems on their own land with equipment available locally.
Nguyễn Thị Thắm is among the first IPA adopters in northern Vietnam. She learned the IPA concept at the August seminar and constructed an IPA fixed floor raceway. She has a 3 ha farm, managed by her son, Vũ Duy Hào. At the same time, she ran a hub to collect fish from other farms to supply the market. After stocking tilapia for one month, she was very satisfied with the high survival rate compared to the same source of fingerlings stock to the traditional pond. She already plans to construct more raceways without waiting for the first IPA trial to finish.
There are currently six IPA sites in northern Vietnam: Mr. Phú in Bắc Giang, Mr. Trung in Bắc Ninh, Mr. Lừng in Hà Tây, Mr. Thao in Hà Tây, Mr. Hải in Hà Tây and Mr. Sơn in Thanh Hóa.
In November, USSEC Aquaculture Technical Director – Southeast Asia Lukas Manomaitis and USSEC Aquaculture Technical Manager – Vietnam Võ Hoàng Nguyên paid a visit to the IPA sites in Hưng Yên, Bắc Ninh and Thanh Hóa. They decided to conduct more visits to each IPA site and to organize training for farmers who are constructing and running IPAs by themselves in order to help them do it properly.
USSEC met with Chang Ku Yoon, president & CEO, CJ Philippines, Inc., and Ronaldo Cruz, aqua product manager, CJ Philippines, to present the USSEC Southeast Asia (SEA) and Philippines Soy in Aquaculture program and to discuss the Philippine Aquaculture Industry in CJ Phils Inc. Feedmill in San Rafael, Bulacan, Philippines.
USSEC discussed the ongoing programs in feedmill and nutrition where aquafeed nutritionists are guided in optimizing U.S. soybean meal in aquafeed formulation and other U.S. Soy products in a least cost formulation. The Low Volume High Density (LVHD) cage aquaculture and pond feed based technologies were also discussed to improve aquaculture production through sustainable and environmentally friendly practices using extruded floating feeds.
CJ Philippines Inc. is planning to revive their aquafeeds production and be present in the aquaculture feed industry. USSEC suggested that it is better for CJ Aqua Feeds to produce high quality feeds that will give farmers faster growth for fish and better feed conversion rates (FCR).
Myanmar is a growing market for America’s food and agricultural products. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), U.S. agricultural exports to Myanmar reached a record $15.3 million USD in FY14, up 24 percent from the previous year.
The opening of the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) office in August 2016 at the U.S embassy in Yangon helps build activities and services in Myanmar. USSEC Technical Consultant, Aquaculture – Myanmar May Myat Noe Lwin says, “I believe that this will strengthen importing U.S. soybeans and soybean products to Myanmar as well.”
With the team effort of USSEC and various U.S. agriculture projects and programs, sales are expected to increase significantly. But there is still need of more input from the government body, and the opening of the FAS office with a permanent Agriculture Attaché will fill the gap, especially with the rules and regulations from the government bodies importing U.S. agriculture products.
USSEC’s aquaculture program will work with the FAS program to support the increase of sales of U.S. soybeans and soybean meal sales to Myanmar for its livestock and aquaculture industries.
Sutas, a USSEC customer and Turkey’s largest dairy producer, opened its third integrated dairy facility in Izmir, Turkey on December 23 with an investment of $80 million.
Sutas processes 2,200 tons of milk daily and produces 360,000 tons of dairy feed yearly. The company enjoys a 15 percent market share for milk in Turkey with gross sales in 2015 of 2.3 billion Turkish lira (TL) and 2.6 billion TL in 2016.
The investment in Sutas’ new facilities is about $80 million U.S. dollars (USD) and they will process 1000 tons of milk and produce 600 tons per day of feed, along with 6.4 megawatts of electricity and 100 tons of organic fertilizer. Sutas is already collecting 2,200 tons of milk with 8 percent of this amount is coming from their owned dairy farms and the rest collected from 28,000 farmers in different parts of Turkey.
The president, prime minister, minister of agriculture and many other government ministers attended the opening of the new facilities. Sutas executives present included Mr. Yilmaz, president; Mr. Tezel, vice president; and Mrs. Serpil Veral, CEO.
One of Sutas’ main goals in this investment is to export its products to Russia. Russia was importing €5 billion worth of dairy products before the embargo from EU countries, but is now importing these products from Argentina and Brazil. Turkey is producing a large amount of dairy products that they currently export to Russia and Japan, but they will now be producing different types of dairy products giving them a greater opportunity in these markets.
Sutas also acquired dairy companies in Romania and Macedonia and invested $20 million USD in those companies to supply dairy products to the EU. Turkey is currently not allowed to export dairy products to the EU.
Sutas has been in the dairy business for three generations and celebrates its 41st year in the business this year. Their integrated business model is “from the grass to the table” and they opened their first facility in Karacabey /Bursa in 2004 using this model. Since that time, they have invested $620 million USD in this business with 3 facilities. With the new facility, they are estimated to grow 50 percent in 2016.
Sutas is a very good partner to USSEC who regularly participates in USSEC’s events in Turkey and events in other countries, such as the U.S. Soy Global Trade Exchange in the U.S. While many companies are holding their investments in Turkey at this time, Sutas’ investment in Izmir is noteworthy. USSEC congratulates SUTAS for its new investment and trust in the dairy business and the consumption of dairy products.
Ozpekler Trout Company, a customer and supporter of USSEC, will build a fish feed plant in Denizli, Turkey with the first double screw extruder in the country.
Ozpekler Company produces trout, exporting all its production to Europe. The company partners with a Dutch firm for its marketing in the EU. They produce around 5000 tons of trout each year in 5 facilities in the western part of Turkey. The company already has a hatchery, grow-out farms in lakes and concrete pools, and a processing plant, but was missing a feed plant to complete its integration. With this investment, they will become an integrated company.
Ozpekler, the third largest trout producer in Turkey, attends USSEC’s many aqua events in Turkey and in the U.S., including the Kansas State aquafeed manufacturing course, Idaho farm visits, and USSEC’s regional aqua investment conference in Dubai.
As a result of USSEC’s efforts, Ozpekler decided to build its own feed factory, which will have a double screw extruder, the first in Turkey, allowing them to use less starch in their feed and achieving a higher protein content, consuming more U.S. Soy. The company will also have a pulverizer, which will allow them to produce larval feed for baby fish. The location of the feed mill will be in Denizli where Ozpekler has its head office and all other facilities. The capacity of the feed mill will be five tons per hour of extruded feed.
USSEC traveled to northeastern China’s soy-growing province of Heilongjiang to hold workshops and exchange market information with local soy growers on December 13 and 14.
Three experts including Chen Beier, senior vice president of R. J. O’Brien’s Asia department; Hanver Li, chairman of Shanghai JC Intelligence; and Liu Zhaofu, founder and general manager of the soy portal website Dadou.cn, were invited by USSEC to speak to local soybean growers in the snow-covered Nenjiang county of Heilongjiang province.
The USSEC team was received by Li Tiehui, deputy chief of the agricultural authority of Nenjiang County, who escorted the team to a local cooperative farm on December 13 and an agricultural technology service center on the 14th.
In the workshops, Nenjiang soy growers shared with USSEC their concerns over market uncertainties, increased competition from domestic soy growers from other parts of the country, and soybean price drops. Some expressed pessimism over the short-term future. In response to their concerns, USSEC consultants not only delivered presentations to introduce some of the U.S. soybean industry’s experience and practice in dealing with the challenges and problems which are common to soy growers from all over the world, but also shared some practical industry-leading techniques in analyzing the soybean market and predicting future trends.
One soy grower shared his personal experience of rushing into the options market ten years ago without sufficient knowledge to guide his way, only to suffer a loss of five million renminbi (RMB) in a rash attempt. USSEC consultant Bell Chen, a seasoned options trading professional from the oldest and largest independent futures brokerage and clearing firm in the U.S., encouraged him to start from the basics and pay particular attention to the most up-to-date techniques necessary to calculate the odds and reduce risks.
In his closing remarks, Mr. Li said he would like to express gratitude on behalf of the Nenjiang government to USSEC for its continued contribution to the local economy through sharing some of the U.S. soybean industry’s best practices, and offering local soy growers ready-to-use practical knowledge in protecting themselves against market volatility.