Htoo Thit, one of the largest aquafeed mills in Myanmar, has purchased 8,000 metric tons (MT) of U.S. soybean meal since 2015 and has plans to purchase even more U.S. soybean meal this season. It values USSEC’s continuing support and has attributed the motivation for its recent feed mill expansion to USSEC’s training and feed demonstrations that have convinced the local fish farmers to convert to high quality, formulated floating feeds using U.S. soybean meal and soy oil as feed ingredients.
Last season, about 25,500 MT of U.S. soybean meal was imported into Myanmar for animal feed production and imports of U.S. soybean meal look to outpace last season’s volume.
USSEC launched its Myanmar aquaculture program in 2012 with a limited scope at the onset, but expanded its marketing efforts in 2013 and 2014. In 2012-2013, Indian soybean meal was the only option for Myanmar’s feed industry as its only trade relations were with the neighboring countries of China, India, Bangladesh, Thailand and Laos as the result of decades of political and economic isolation under the old political regime.
The USSEC aquaculture program, which promoted the use of soy-optimized feeds, started introducing information about U.S. Soy to the industry through its trade and technical activities to the local feed mills and farmers when the government began opening up to international organizations. U.S. soybeans and soybean meal were still new to Myanmar’s industry.
It took some time to convince the industry to try U.S. soybean meal because of the higher price and payment issues in Myanmar as a result of tight foreign exchange controls. USSEC persisted, providing regular technical support and organized workshops to explain the importance of using good quality feed ingredients and the value of U.S. soybean meal, and arranged meetings with U.S. suppliers.
The Htoo Thit Company became convinced of the quality and benefits of U.S. soybean products and, in the beginning, purchased small amounts to utilize in its diets. Today, it is one of the largest users of U.S. soybean meal in its feed formulations.
USSEC recently visited a new cooperator feedmill in Vietnam.
USSEC Aquaculture Program Lead Technical Consultant – SEA Lukas Manomaitis, together with Technical Consultant, Aquaculture – Vietnam Vo Hoang Nguyen, traveled to Long An Province in southern Vietnam to meet with the Vietnam branch of the Chinese Techbank feedmill firm. This feedmill will help USSEC pioneer the first USSEC offshore cage farm demonstration using extruded, sinking, U.S. soy protein concentrate (SPC)-optimized feeds.
This is an important step in both the efforts by USSEC to guide the marine fish culture industry to offshore approaches and to showcase the value and utility of U.S. Soy, particularly U.S. SPC in the marine fish market. It is anticipated that as offshore cage culture of marine fish expands, high quality feeds, such as those using U.S. Soy and SPC in particular, will be needed in large, consistent amounts.
USSEC’s aquaculture program continues to show great success and was featured in the January 25 edition of the Global Aquaculture Advocate magazine.
In the interview, USSEC Southeast Asia Technical Director – Aquaculture Lukas Manomaitis discussed the reciprocal partnership that the soy industry has formed with fish farmers and the trends he sees in fish production. Mr. Manomaitis talked about the growth of the global aquaculture industry over the past decade and where it’s headed over the next ten years; aquafeed formulations; genetically modified soy and the U.S. Soy Sustainability Assurance Protocol (SSAP); and increased soy production.
In 2015, approximately 13.5 million metric tons (MMT) of soy equaling roughly 620 million bushels was used in aquafeeds. At least 5 MMT or 230 million bushels of that was U.S. Soy, according to USSEC Marketing Director – International Aquaculture / Customer Focus Colby Sutter, which marks a significant increase from 2014. “To give you some perspective,” Ms. Sutter says, “between 2014 and 2015, soy demand in aqua feeds went from 478 million bushels to 620 million bushels.”
As USSEC’s aquaculture program continues to evolve, there is an ever-increasing focus on the sustainability and versatility of U.S. Soy in aquafeeds.
The Global Aquaculture Advocate is a trade magazine “focused on efficient and responsible aquaculture throughout the world” and features a range of articles containing both technical content and informative perspectives on various species. It is published by the Global Aquaculture Alliance, an international, non-profit trade association dedicated to advancing environmentally and socially responsible aquaculture. The bi-monthly magazine is available in both print and electronic versions.
Read the interview here.
USSEC recently attended the eleventh anniversary meeting of the Myanmar Fisheries Federation (MFF), including the Myanmar Fish Farmers Association, Freshwater Fishermen Association and Feed Mail Association, additionally meeting with fish farmers at Yangon.
There are ten related associations in the MFF. At the meeting, attended by USSEC Technical Manager, Aquaculture – Myanmar Wai Wai Linn, members discussed five objectives and presented each association’s annual and financial report.
Members then proceeded to discuss current challenges on acquiring a sufficient volume of raw materials to produce fish feed; getting enough new fish species; attaining advance technology to produce highly valued new fish species with a short rearing period; recruiting skilled workers; preventing and curing fish diseases; and procuring investments with low interest rates.
In 2014-15, aquaculture earnings in Myanmar were less than $500 million USD and neighboring Vietnam earned 14 times that figure, and so members discussed the importance of improving the Myanmar aquaculture industry.
Participants discussed the magnitude of improving the economy of the state and fish farmers association. Members want to first consider covering daily local consumption and the increasing Myanmar population growth rate. Second, they talked about getting foreign exchange money from the export sector.
Members agreed to focus and continue learning about updated and advance technology to add value to their current practices; increasing acreage production rate; and increasing the volume of fish production and increasing fish species.
The MMF will try to implement holistic development of its fishery sector despite their many current challenges and recognized the need to cooperate and collaborate with relevant local, regional and international organizations and institutions in order to promote all-round development of Myanmar’s aquaculture sector.
USSEC Technical Manager, Aquaculture – Myanmar Wai Wai Linn met with Dr. Pe Tin, consultant to Htoo Thit, Co. Ltd. at the company’s factory to discuss their constraints, challenges and future plans.
Htoo Thit is in need of near infrared (NIR) equipment to ascertain moisture content and to cool down the temperature of the aquaculture feed that they produce. The organization has extended its facilities to increase production rates and can now produce 500 tons of feed per day with plans to produce 800 tons daily in the future. They currently face some issues about feed quality and despite external demand from Nepal and Malaysia, could not export feed because of a policy issue about its export license.
For now, the company has contracted in FY16 to import soy meal from India and Argentina, but plans to purchase U.S. soy meal in the future because of its high quality, especially in terms of growth and nutrition.
USSEC presented “Updates and Status of High Value Marine Fish Culture in SEA and Markets” during a November visit to Santeh Feeds Corporation in Quezon City, Philippines.
USSEC Asia Marine Aquaculture Specialist – Southeast Asia Hsiang Pin Lan discussed updates in aquaculture production in different hatchery sectors, grow out, aquaculture feed, and different levels of marketing to push for the sale of aquaculture products in different ways in the SEA Region. He also emphasized the importance of addressing fish health management issues to improve survival rates and growth efficiency and production of high value marine fish in the Philippines.
16 sales representatives and technical staff members of Santeh Feeds Corp attended the meeting.
A group of USSEC consultants recently traveled to Vietnam to work with fish farmers there.
USSEC Aquaculture Program Lead Technical Consultant – SEA Lukas Manomaitis, together with several other USSEC contractors including Technical Consultant, Aquaculture – Vietnam Vo Hoang Nguyen; USSEC Vietnam Aquaculture Technical Manager Nguyen Van Tien; and Technical Consultant, Aquaculture – Philippines Levy Manalac visited the Thai Binh Province in northern Vietnam to discuss their experiences during the USSEC FY15 demonstration projects and to participate in the associated Farmers Field Day.
Prior to USSEC involvement in the area, all farmers were exclusively using trash fish to feed their fish and were having serious issues with poor water quality and disease. As a result of the work by USSEC, the farmers are now convinced that using high quality formulated feeds is the preferred approach for production of advanced juveniles.
At present, USSEC cannot continue to work with fish to market size, Mr. Manomaitis believes that USSEC can “declare victory” in this region in the first and most important stage for marine fish culture in ponds (fingerling to advanced juvenile). This also allows possibilities for farmers to produce high quality fingerlings for other uses, such as offshore cage culture.
USSEC Southeast Asia’s (SEA) aquaculture program is cooperating with Finfish Hatchery Inc., a subsidiary of the larger, vertically integrated Alsons Aquaculture Group, in the Philippines to improve fish seed quality.
The project’s perspective is that in order to build demand for U.S. Soy products as a key ingredient in feeds for marine fish production, growout farmers must have confidence that the fish coming into their systems will be of good quality and available in sufficient quantities. Only then will they invest in the quality feeds that would likely incorporate U.S. Soy products in order to maintain the consistent formulations that are needed to keep marine fish performing well.
USSEC SEA identified Finfish as a possible collaborator for the USSEC hatchery project because of its established position in the marine fish fingerling industry. Finfish, established in 1996, initiated milkfish reproduction in the Philippines. The USSEC SEA aquaculture program started to provide technical guidance and training to Finfish in selective breeding, hatching technology, larvae rearing, and fish health management, disease control and other key hatchery issues. Finfish has actively invested and improved their operational practices for marine fish fingerling production, and as a result, USSEC has also learned a great deal about the issues holding back SEA’s marine fish fingerling industry. This collaboration has also helped Finfish to become the leading marine fish fingerling supplier in the Philippines. Finfish’s fry and fingerlings are branded under the Sarangani Fry trademark, which provides more than 50 percent of milkfish fingerling to Philippines industry of 2.5 billion fish per year.
USSEC is partnering with several aquafeed manufacturers in Vietnam to create a demand for U.S. Soy in aquafeed there.
USSEC began its cooperation with market leader Proconco in 2013. As a market leader in the Pangasius (Vietnamese catfish) feed industry, Proconco had enjoyed its market leadership for a decade. Starting in 2008, however, Pangasius exports began facing trade barriers, with increases in feed costs and low growout survival rates. Proconco and many other feed companies started to consider marine fish feed as a potential niche market. Producing marine fish feed with high protein and fat content is not as simple as the relatively low protein and fat feeds used for Pangasius. Extruded marine pellet feeds needed a minimum starch level to float, which was now more difficult if protein and fat had to be increased as well. Furthermore, because the nutritional requirements for marine fish species are totally different from freshwater fish, a good experience with production and use of Pangasius feed didn’t necessarily mean success with marine fish feeds.
USSEC’s partnership with Proconco started with a feeding demonstration project using Asian sea bass. Through cooperation on this and the demonstrations that followed, USSEC was able to guide Proconco on the correct use of extrusion technology to produce marine fish floating feed with USSEC soy-optimized formulations. U.S. Soy products such as soy protein concentrate, soybean meal, and, in particular, soy lecithin, were applied to the diets. Additionally, Proconco now can use the USSEC-led Asian Aquaculture Feed Formulation Database (AAFFD) to formulate feed for other marine fish species as well. With the experience from the collaborative demonstrations, and having moved to practical commercial products, Proconco has started to sell 10 metric tons (MT) of marine fish feed per month as a first successful step into this new market.
A similar cooperation effort in Northern Vietnam between USSEC and Kinh Bac Feedmill, working with Asian sea bass demonstrations and marine soy-optimized feeds, has helped farmers in the Thai Binh province to switch from using so-called “trash fish” (ground-up bycatch) to formulated floating feed. Farmers learned that complete feed with U.S. Soy products helps them to maintain pond water quality with low mortality and less labor required for feed management.
USSEC projects funded by U.S. Soy growers have significantly promoted sustainable aquaculture in Vietnam. Fewer “trash fish” are being used and more U.S. Soy products were applied. Feedmills are recognizing U.S. Soy as a sustainable and responsible choice for feed applications.
USSEC’s International Soy in Aquaculture Program has announced the establishment of an Aquaculture Industry Advisory Council that will contribute valuable input to the development of long-term strategies for the program’s support of sustainable aquaculture development. The Advisory Council held its first meeting at the Global Outlook on Aquaculture Leadership (GOAL) conference in Vancouver, on October 26.
“We are honored to have the participation of such visionary leaders in various aquaculture sectors, including feed, research and sustainability certification,” said Colby Sutter, USSEC marketing director of aquaculture/customer focus. “Their combined knowledge and insight of the challenges and opportunities facing the industry today will help our program to best support the sustainable growth of global aquaculture.”
Dr. Michael Cremer, who recently retired after more than 30 years with USSEC’s aquaculture program, will serve on the council as an adviser. Last March, Dr. Cremer was honored by the United Soybean Board (USB) with the Outstanding Achievement Award for his dedicated work with moving global aquaculture to a largely feed-based, more efficient and sustainable industry.
Other Advisory Council members include researchers Dr. Rick Barrows, USDA/ARS, and Dr. Jesse Chappell, Auburn University; Dan Lee, Global Aquaculture Alliance’s (GAA) Best Aquaculture Practices program; Jose Villalon, Nutreco; Magdalena Wallhoff, Regal Springs; Jose Antonio Camposano, National Chamber of Aquaculture, Ecuador; Neil Sims, Kampachi Farms; and Sebastian Belle, Maine Aquaculture Association.
“The soy industry has done so much for aquaculture, and we have all benefited from their efforts,” said Mr. Belle. “Personally, I feel that it’s a privilege to be able to serve on the council and help them continue their work.”
“The first Advisory Council meeting surpassed our expectations for valuable input from these aquaculture industry leaders,” said USSEC CEO Jim Sutter. “We very much appreciate their participation, and that of soybean grower leaders Ron Moore and Jacob Parker, and feel that it will have a significant impact on our efforts gong forward.”
The U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) conducted a two day seminar in the Philippine municipalities of Anda and Bolinao, Pangasinan on September 25 and 26, 2014 targeting milkfish cage technicians, farmers, investors and local government units with the objective of sharing USSEC’s Low Volume High Density (LVHD) cage aquaculture technology along with the latest technologies and benefits of using extruded floating feeds in milkfish cage aquaculture in the Philippines and Southeast Asia (SEA). 67 participants representing milkfish cage technicians, farmers, investors and staff of local government units from Anda and Bolinao along with feedmill representatives attended the two-day forum. The seminar helped participants gain information on how to improve farmers’ production efficiency, transition to sustainable cage farming with the use of extruded floating feeds, proper feed and water quality management, profitability and the lowering of milkfish feed conversion ratio (FCR) in milkfish cage aquaculture. Milkfish farmers adopting technology and management practices discussed in the seminar will measure long-term success. Unless this particular market segment of the market is taught how to be sustainable, local farmers may underperform, dampening the growth of soybean meal (SBM) consumption in the area. Milkfish (Chanos chanos) is the most important fish species in the Philippines with an annual production of 401,070 metric tons (MT) in 2013. The province of Pangasinan produced about 100,682 MT in 2013, or about 25.1 percent of the Philippines’ total milkfish production, with an estimated feed requirement of 241,636 MT and estimated SBM usage of about 91,824 MT. In 2014, Pangasinan’s milkfish production rose to about 114,358 MT with an estimated feed requirement of 274,459 MT and estimated SBM usage of about 104,294 MT. Estimated SBM inclusion rate is at 38 percent. From 2002 to 2013, production of milkfish from aquaculture grew at an average rate of 3.62 percent. USSEC’s current aquaculture program in the Philippines is aimed at setting the foundation for a more sustainable and quality-oriented production base.
The U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) followed up on feeding demonstrations with two cooperators in Mexico, the Autonomous University of Baja California (UABC) in Ensenada and the Feed and Research Center (CIAD) in Mazatlan. The demonstrations involved the evaluation of the inclusion of soy protein concentrate (SPC) from U.S. manufacturer Prairie Aquatech in a feed produced by a Guadalajara feed manufacturer. USSEC provided technical support by conducting one-on-one meetings with UABC and CIAD to discuss feeding protocols; checking which fish were used; inspecting feeds manufactured for the demonstrations; meeting with the managers of the feeding demonstrations; visiting the respective hatcheries; and discussing the current protocol, chiefly covering feeding practices and times for sampling. At CIAD, the feeding demonstration is being carried out with Lutjanus guttatus (spotted rose snapper) specie, while Totoaba macdonaldi (totoaba) specie is being used at the UABC. In the Mexican markets, working with red snapper and common snook offers a good opportunity to include SPC into the diets of these fish. These feeding demonstrations illustrate the benefits of using U.S. soy products in aqua feeds and provide an opportunity to boost the consumption of U.S. soy products in the Mexican aqua feed industry. USSEC also discussed opportunities to work with these cooperators in new research with other species of marine fish in the next fiscal year, offering greater opportunity for the import of U.S. soy. U.S. company Techmix, who will be providing the SPC for FY15 aqua feeding demonstrations, has informed USSEC that production capacity and supply for this year will be close to 100 metric tons a month.
USSEC and USSEC member Midwest Ag Enterprises are working together in Egypt to introduce soy protein concentrate (SPC) to a growing aquaculture market. USSEC organized an aquaculture seminar on optimized feed formulation for marine finfish and tilapia. A total of 95 participants attended the May 10, 2015 event, representing 40 of the top poultry and aqua feed producing companies and opinion leaders in Egypt’s aquaculture industry. The presentations’ main message emphasized the important potential of U.S. Soy in improving diet quality and performance, consequently providing an opportunity to increase returns for U.S. Soy farmers. USSEC consultant Sirri Kayhan concluded the conference by demonstrating the economic advantage of using SPC to replace fishmeal. Follow-up visits with feed manufacturers underlined the existing interest in marine feeds using SPC. All of the feed manufacturers visited have established projects to produce marine fish feed. Egypt’s aquaculture sector has been growing at more than 10 percent per year for the past 10 years. Today, the aquaculture sector produces approximately 1.1 million tons of fish, 40,000 tons of which are marine fish. This number is expected to double by 2017 as Egypt unveils plans to establish 2,400 hectares of marine fish farms along the Suez Canal waterline. The project is expected to produce 50,000 tons of fish annually and annual demand for marine feed is expected to reach 200,000 tons. Current marine feed production capacity is only 1000 tons, leaving great opportunity in terms of improving quantity as well as quality of marine aqua feed. FAS subsidizes two of USSEC’s representatives in the MENA region: Salah Taher, Egypt country representative, and Sirri Kayhan, USSEC’s country representative in Turkey, both have year-long contracts funded by FMD.