News: Southeast Asia
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.
The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) has been important news in Vietnam, especially for those who work in agriculture production. Conferences and workshops on the topic have been conducted in every economic sector.
USSEC Technical Consultant, Aquaculture – Vietnam Vo Hoang Nguyen was invited to speak at the seminar “Trans Pacific Partnership to Vietnam: Opportunities and Challenges” at Nong Lam University – Ho Chi Minh City (NLU). The audience was comprised mainly of NLU’s lecturers and students.
“Vietnam’s seafood exports would enjoy the trade barrier when Vietnam joined the TPP agreement . . .USSEC aquaculture in Vietnam and Southeast Asian countries is to support sustainable aquaculture production by technology transfer to feed mill and farm cooperators, by feeding demonstration project to train farmers with advanced culture techniques,” stated Mr. Nguyen to the audience.
During the panel discussion, Mr. Nguyen introduced USSEC as a not-for-profit organization and talked about its core values with the audience.
Vo Hoang Nguyen, USSEC Technical Consultant, Aquaculture, during a panel discussion at TPP seminar in NLU
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.
In early 2015, USSEC completed its soymilk promotion program for survivors of 2013’s Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, which struck the islands of Leyte and Samar.
USSEC supported efforts by the United Soybean Board (USB) efforts to work with the Philippine Red Cross and Caritas Philippines, Inc., a Catholic NGO, to provide soymilk to survivors of 2013’s Typhoon Haiyan.
USSEC used its established relationships to reach across nations to follow through with the humanitarian project. Two Philippine companies Asia Brewery, Inc. (ABI) and Miracle Soybean Food International Corp., and Thailand’s Greenspot generously committed to helping the U.S. Soy industry with this project.
The mission, which ran between January and March of 2015, delivered thousands of cases of soymilk to Haiyan survivors. In all, about $100,000 worth of soymilk, or 232.416 liters of soymilk, was distributed to survivors of Typhoon Haiyan that devastated communities in Leyte and Iloilo. Approximately 80,000 children were served in Leyte and about 26,000 families were served in Iloilo.
Haiyan, which struck the Philippines in November 2013, was the strongest recorded typhoon in Philippine history, killing at least 6300 people in that country alone and leaving thousands homeless.
Checkoff funding provided the current customer base in the Philippines the ability to supply soyfood products for direct distribution to citizens impacted by Haiyan. Because USSEC has established relationships with the country’s soybean industry, USSEC-Philippines was asked to facilitate identifying current small business Philippine soy industry food processers, suppliers and distributors that purchase U.S. soybean, meal and oil, and had the most efficient location and distribution network to deliver to those in greatest need.
In order to comply with the requirements of the Act, Order and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) guidelines, companies utilizing the reimbursement program were required to be existing customers, verify purchase history of U.S. soybeans and request prior approval from USSEC.
This project helps to ensure the economic vitality of small Philippine business owners that may be struggling during a challenging economic time, increase the value of the U.S. – Philippine relationship, increase demand for U.S. Soy through the Philippines’s value chain, and create possible new markets due to the introduction of different soyfoods to customers.
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.
The formation of the Indonesia Tempe Forum (ITF) and the idea of a model Tempe Production Centre, proposed by USSEC SE Asia in 2007, sowed the seeds of success that are now reflected in the nationally recognized House of Tempe, also known as Rumah Tempe, in Bogor, Indonesia.
Coordinated by ITF with support from USSEC, the project came to fruition in 2010 through a coalition of partners including a local soy trading company (FKS), Bogor KOPTI, and an NGO (Mercy Corp.), among others. Further support from state soybean boards in Minnesota and North Dakota have enabled Rumah Tempe to become the first hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP) certified tempe production center in the country in 2013. Rumah Tempe not only produces tempe, but also serves as a training and promotion center for other tempe producers in the country wishing to learn and upgrade their products. Through the many ITF programs increasing the awareness and promotion of the benefits of soy and tempe consumption to target audiences, tempe has recently gained the status of a Codex Standards and is in the process of application to be recognized as an intangible cultural heritage of Indonesia by UNESCO. There are now several similar centers on the island of Java modeled after Rumah Tempe that serve local tempe producers.
Tempe is a unique fermented soy product consumed throughout Indonesia, especially among the Javanese. Between 1.5 to 2 million metric tons (MMT) of U.S. soybeans are imported into Indonesia annually for tempe production and consumption, and the U.S. has over a 90 percent market share of total soybean import. A highly nutritional fermented soy product, tempe is the major protein source for a large portion of Indonesia’s 250 million people on a daily basis. USSEC will continue to service and grow this important global market to maintain its position as the number one importer of U.S. Soy for food uses.
USSEC, together with the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and the Foreign Agricultural Service ‐ United States Department of Agriculture (FAS‐USDA), organized the 12th Southeast Asia U.S. Agriculture Cooperators Conference in Siem Reap, Cambodia from Aug. 25-28. This year’s conference theme was “Opportunities for an Industry in Transition,” and highlighted the changes and challenges faced by agribusinesses today. Economic and population growth, as well as growing affluence in the region, continues to fuel demand for agricultural imports, and the proliferation of trade agreements in the last 15 years has had a major impact on international trade and investment. The event offered a mix of social and networking activities as participants learned about how production and supply chains will make adjustments to meet a new market environment caused by record supplies, the coming together of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) economic community by the end of this year and a lackluster Chinese economy.
USSEC vice chairman and American Soybean Association (ASA) director Jim Miller presented, “U.S. Soy Sustainability Assurance – Soybean Production Practices” and past United Soybean Board (USB) chairman and Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council director Jim Call discussed, “U.S. Grower Perspectives: 2015‐2016 U.S. Soybean Crop Outlook.” Gerald Smith, Senior Agricultural Attaché, FAS-USDA, U.S. Embassy, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam welcomed attendees. USSEC CEO Jim Sutter provided opening remarks and USSEC consultant and economist John Baize gave an overview of global oilseeds. “Soy Dynamics in the Asia Subcontinent” was presented by USSEC Country Director – India Vijay Anand, and USSEC consultant Jan van Eys discussed, “Global Poultry Perspectives: Development in the Feed Sector.” USSEC Southeast Asia Technical Director – Aquaculture Lukas Manomaitis talked about opportunities for growth and investment in global aquaculture.
Conference participants represented an estimated soy buying volume of 3.7 million metric tons (MMT) of soybeans and 7.4 MMT of soybean meal.
On a recent grower leader marketing mission, U.S. soybean producers and qualified state soybean board (QSSB) staff learned about the aquaculture industries in China and Southeast Asia (SEA). China, the number one producer of seafood in the world (61 percent), and Southeast Asia, with five countries ranked in the top 10 in global aquaculture production, have been big contributors to the seven percent global annual growth in aquaculture production.
In China, the group visited two commercial freshwater farms, which have recently constructed the intensive in-pond raceway system in existing ponds. This technology was first brought to China via a USSEC feeding demonstration and received notice from much of the Chinese freshwater aquaculture industry because water is one of the largest constraints for the country. Since the first in-pond raceway system was constructed in 2014, there are now more than 100 in use or under construction by commercial industry after the environmental and economic benefits of using this technology were realized. This system allows for the same water to be used over and over, unlike traditional pond culture, which requires new water for each grow out. In addition to conserving water, it allows for the increase of biomass production by at least three.
In Southeast Asia, the group was taken offshore to see some hatcheries and marine species grow out farms. MarineLife Aquaculture, located in Singapore, is a forward-thinking group that is seeing significant growth as a fingerling provider of Asian sea bass to SEA. If SEA can improve the genetic quality of its fish through strong hatcheries as well as moving its offshore aquaculture to more modern production techniques, there will be tremendous growth in an already large producer/industry. MarineLife is working to reach the point where it can give a feedmill a desired formulation for feed, versus buying what the feedmill is selling. The company will begin working hand in hand with the USSEC aquaculture team on which is the best formulation for its fingerlings and then approach the feedmill.
Walter Godwin, United Soybean Board (USB) director, pointed out, “With the projected increase in the world population and the need for more protein, aquaculture is rising to the challenge. The use of soybeans to produce extruded feeds will help the bottom line of American soybean farmers.
In Malaysia, the final site visit for this mission was a tour of ocean cages off the coast of Langkawi. The group visited a pilot research farm that is in partnership with a private farmer and the Malaysian government. This is a new initiative to increase the production of seafood for consumption as well as improve the environmental footprint.
In addition to Mr. Godwin, the delegation of grower leaders included American Soybean Association (ASA) vice president Joe Steinkamp; Indiana Soybean Alliance (ISA) director Matt Chapman; Michigan Soybean Promotion Committee member Laurie Isley; Nebraska Soybean Board director Ed Lammers; and Nebraska Soybean Board director and USB director Greg Greving. QSSB staff included Tony Stafford of the Missouri Soybean Board; Andy Tauer of ISA; and Karen Claghorn of the Iowa Soybean Association.
The trip provided the U.S. Soy delegation with an opportunity to see the tremendous growth and further potential in China and SEA’s aquaculture industry.
USSEC, together with the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and the Foreign Agricultural Service ‐ United States Department of Agriculture (FAS‐USDA), will organize the 12th Southeast Asia U.S. Agriculture Cooperators Conference in Siem Reap, Cambodia from August 25-28. This year’s conference theme is “Opportunities for an Industry in Transition,” and it will highlight the changes and challenges faced by agribusinesses today. Economic and population growth, as well as growing affluence in the region, continues to fuel demand for agricultural imports, and the proliferation of trade agreements in the last 15 years has had a major impact on international trade and investment.
Speakers from the U.S. Soy family include USSEC CEO Jim Sutter; past United Soybean Board (USB) chairman and Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council director Jim Call; USSEC vice chairman and American Soybean Association (ASA) director Jim Miller; USSEC consultant and economist John Baize; USSEC Country Director – India Vijay Anand; USSEC consultant Jan van Eys; and USSEC Southeast Asia Technical Director – Aquaculture Lukas Manomaitis.
The event offers a mix of social and networking activities as participants learn about how production and supply chains will make adjustments to meet a new market environment caused by record supplies, the coming together of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) economic community by the end of this year, and a lackluster Chinese economy. According to USSEC Regional Director – Southeast Asia Timothy Loh, 18 U.S. and international grain exporters and 50 leading importers of soybeans, soybean meal, corn and dried distiller’s grain with solubles (DDGs) will be in attendance, representing an estimated soy buying volume of 3.7 million metric tons (MMT) of soybeans and 7.4 MMT of soybean meal. 13 nationalities, including speakers, will be in attendance with the final estimated number of participants at 170.
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.
Seven panamaxes of U.S. soybean meal (SBM) have been purchased by the Thai Feed Import Group since the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) brought the company’s leadership to the U.S. on a September 2013 trade mission that included touring grain export facilities in Washington, visiting with Minnesota soybean growers, inspecting the soybean crop in parts of Minnesota, and attending the U.S. Soy Global Trade Exchange in Davenport, Iowa. During February and March 2014, the Thai group purchased two panamaxes from ADM and Bunge with an additional two purchased targeted for November/December 2014 from Bunge. In November 2014, the company purchased three panamaxes again from Bunge equaling about 180,000 metric tons (MT) of U.S. SBM, bringing the 2014 total to seven.
For three days in June 2015, more than 100 representatives from governments, academia, trade associations, industry, and investor groups met in Singapore for the 1st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Aquaculture Industry Summit, hosted using MAP and FMD funds by the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and the American Soybean Association / U.S Soybean Export Council (ASA / USSEC), along with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS). The summit’s two primary goals were to bring key stakeholders to the table to address constraints on the aquaculture sector and to work together to find common ground for developing a roadmap towards the harmonization of regulatory and certification issues among ASEAN members. Summit sessions addressed: (1) best practices in ASEAN aquaculture farm management; (2) strategies and future of ASEAN feed management; (3) regulation and legislation related to aquaculture; and (4) investment prospects in aquaculture.
H.E. Kirk Wagar, Ambassador of the United States to Singapore, was a keynote speaker at the summit, and noted the extraordinary 7.8 percent annual growth rate for aquaculture in the region in the past two decades. At the end of the summit, a dossier containing seven proposed action items was presented to the ASEAN secretariat. The action items encouraged the harmonization of efforts in Southeast Asia’s aquaculture industry, including the establishment of the ASEAN Community of 2015 to help boost the development of the aquaculture community and trade in aquaculture products, the welcome and support of ASEAN’s implementation of programs and activities, the development of a strategic plan of action for ASEAN Cooperation on Food, Agriculture and Forestry 2016-2025, and ASEAN’s effort to promote public-private sector participation in the aquaculture sector, particularly suggesting coordination in Indonesia. By 2050, Asia is expected to account for about 90 percent of global aquaculture production, feeding a population totaling 9.2 billion. Southeast Asia is a big contributor to the aquaculture industry, with 54 percent of ASEAN seafood production in 2012 coming from aquaculture.
The recent Southeast Asia Trade Mission, organized by USSEC, consisted of 35 executives representing 30 countries including Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Singapore, Philippines and Myanmar. Companies such as integrated food processors, oilseed crushers, livestock raisers, livestock feed producers, soy food manufacturers and local trading companies were represented. The goal of this mission was to highlight the value of U.S. agricultural products, promote the U.S. as the one-point ag-solution provider to international customers, and deliver U.S. Soy’s Total Quality promise.
During the ten day mission, the trade team toured grain export facilities in the Washington State, visited with Minnesota soybean growers and inspected the soybean crop in parts of Minnesota, before joining over 200 representatives from 40 different countries at the highlight of this mission: the U.S. Soy Global Trade Exchange in Davenport, Iowa. Co-located with the 10th Annual Midwest Specialty Grains/Grain Export Shipping Conference & Trade Show, the U.S. Soy Global Trade Exchange featured two days of meetings and presentations, facility and river tours, as well as private meetings with U.S. exporters for introductions, market discussions and the exploration of business opportunities.
Based on written evaluations received from trade team members, the overall experience of this year’s trade mission has been extremely positive. As with every mission since its 2008 inception, actual trades and business have been negotiated and concluded. This year, an estimated value of almost $98 million worth of approximately 155,000 metric tons of soybeans, 30,000 metric tons of soybean meal, 10,000 metric tons of corn, 25,000 metric tons of dried distiller grains with solubles (DDGS), and 5,000 metric tons of wheat were transacted by the trade team at the event.
This program is funded by and under the auspices of the United Soybean Board, the American Soybean Association and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Key contributors to this mission include: AG Processing; Bunge North America; Columbia Grain, Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council; North Dakota Soybean Council; South Dakota Soybean Research & Promotion Council; Midwest Shippers Association; and Iowa Soybean Association.