News: Southeast Asia
USSEC conducted three workshops in the major cities of Jakarta, Bangkok and Manila from May 23 through 31 to promote U.S. Soy. The “Agribusiness Series” is a custom-made program designed by USSEC in cooperation with the Northern Crop Institute (NCI) / North Dakota State University (NDSU) and the International Grains Program (IGP) to create a platform for USSEC to stress the benefits and advantages of U.S. soybeans and soybean meal to a select audience.
The theme for the series of workshops is “Managing Risk and Profitability from Field to Food.” Each workshop featured a two-day program aimed at educating and informing buyers of global supply and demand dynamics, pricing trends and other significant market developments, with particular focus on U.S. Soy.
Speakers at the workshop included U.S. Soy grower leader, C.D. Simmons III (director, United Soybean Board (USB)) from Leland, Mississippi; Dr Frayne Olsen (NDSU); Jay O’Neil (IGP, Kansas State Unviersity); Dr. Budi Tangendjaja (USSEC Technical Consultant – Jakarta); and Dr. Basilisa Reas (USSEC Technical Consultant – Manila and Bangkok), as well as Timothy Loh (USSEC Regional Director – Southeast Asia).
Mr. Simmons shared his family’s sustainable farming practices and provided insights into the production and export of U.S. Soy international destinations. He talked about the investments in technology that he has made to increase field productivity and took questions from the participants on farming, cost of production, and price risk hedging from a producer’s perspective, among other subjects.
Other topics covered in the workshop include: supply and demand outlook, price/risk management and hedging strategies, and functionality of raw feed ingredients and the importance of quality. Comparison between U.S. and alternative origination was also discussed in terms of economic and nutritional advantages in animal feed formulation. Mr. Loh also gave a presentation on the U.S. Soy Sustainability Assurance Protocol (SSAP) program.
Tina Liao from the CME Group was also on hand to provide the attendees with additional insights into risk management as she introduced CME’s latest offering of shorted-dated grains options and “QuickStrike,” an online option pricing and analysis tool developed by CME for buyers to identify trends and trade opportunities.
The workshops were generally well-attended and even over-subscribed in some locations. Overall, more than 120 local importers, end users, traders, and suppliers attended the workshops. This includes local representatives from major trading companies, commercial staff, animal nutritionists and finance executives coming from feed mills, integrated livestock, swine and poultry companies.
USSEC recently organized a tour trip to Shanghai, China to visit intensive pond aquaculture (IPA) sites.
The group of 40 visitors came from Egypt, India and Vietnam and attended an IPA seminar on the first day. Dr. Jesse Chappell of Auburn University introduced participants to the principle and concept of IPA. USSEC Aquaculture Program Manager Jim Zhang and USSEC Technical Manager Zhou Enhua provided information about China’s aquaculture industry and the implementation of IPA in China.
The first site visited was a state-owned farm, Maotian Wetland Eco-Agri Investment Co., Ltd., located to the west of Shanghai. Maotian has a total area of about 100 ha. In 2014, Maotian constructed two units of IPA cells in a four ha pond. After the first year’s economic success and efficiency (production increased 20 percent with a 75 percent lower labor cost), the farm manager added two more cells to each IPA unit to create five-cell units. Feed used is mainly USSEC-formulated feed with a U.S. Soy-optimized diet that contains more than 50 percent of U.S. Soy product.
On the second day, participants visited Yancheng Zheng Rong Fisheries Ecological Co., Ltd. This is a private company farm located in Hengji Town, Jianhu of Jiansu province and is currently the largest IPA farm with a 52-cell unit in a 27 ha pond, constructed in 2015. Due to the success of 2015 production (ROI 40 percent, 200 percent increase in production, lower labor cost, especially the flesh quality of fish living in a moving water environment), another IPA system is under construction with a 28-cell unit. In total, Yancheng Zheng Rong built 80 cells for its two IPA units.
A wrap-up meeting among the Vietnamese visitors was conducted by USSEC Vietnam. There was very positive feedback from the group. As a seafood export country, IPA technology could be a positive image for Vietnam to demonstrate to the export market.
USSEC and the Northern Crops Institue (NCI), under the auspices of the United Soybean Board (USB) and American Soybean Association (ASA), and with support from the Qualified State Soybean Boards (QSSBs) in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Kentucky, jointly organized its first U.S. Agribusiness and Partnership Program in Fargo, North Dakota from June 13-16.
An international team of 17 customers from Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines, and Thailand were invited to participate in this unique marketing initiative. USSEC Technical Consultants Dr. Basilisa Reas, and Dr. Budi Tangendjaja, based in the Philippines and Indonesia respectively, led the team. Each was also a featured presenter during the short course.
Delegates were selected to participate because of their role as a decision-maker or influencer in the purchasing process. The main objective of this short course, in addition to providing trade and technical information, was to emphasize the U.S. Soy Advantage to importers in terms of its sustainable production, efficient and reliable logistic and transportation system, transparent and reliable trade practices, better consistency and quality of product, better value for the dollar, and importance of valuing soy against amino acid and metabolizable energy values as opposed to crude protein.
The program for this short course included the following subjects: Overview of the U.S. and Global Soy and Grain Industry; Dynamics of International Grain Trading Practices; Insights into U.S. Soy and Grain Production Practices; Grain Handling, Storage, and Transportation and Impact of Freight on Price; Contract Specifications for Export; Fundamentals of Futures, Basis and Cash Price; Price and Risk Management (Domestic vs. Export Markets); Appreciation of Soybean and Soybean Meal Quality Parameters; Introduction to Soybean “Crushing” – Meal and Oil; Full Fat Soybean Meal – Production and Uses; U.S. Soybean Meal in Feed Rations – Meta Analysis / Comparative Studies; and Latest Developments in Animal Nutrition and Feed Formulation.
Several field and facility tours were also included in the short course.
A key objective of this program is to convince customers who may be still “sitting on the fence” to give U.S. Soy serious consideration and at least try U.S. Soy in their operations. This was an ideal venue to talk about product specifications and address trade issues with the experts on hand. Ultimately, the goal of the program is to build preference and increase U.S. Soy exports to Southeast Asia.
During the NCI short course in Fargo, USSEC set up a small roundtable meeting to introduce Rob Prather, owner of Global Processing, to the Filipino delegates. The meeting resulted in the sale of three containers of U.S. soybeans to Global Agro Milling Corp (GAMC). Yvonne Que, the owner and operations manager of GAMC, was impressed with the quality of the soybean samples Mr. Prather showed her, which led to the deal. The 62 metric tons (MT) of soybeans will be shipped to the Philippines as soon as the necessary documentation is completed.
GAMC is a family owned group of companies with two commercial feedmills, three farms with 3000 in three different locations, two lines of Insta-pro extrusion machines, and a flour mill. GAMC, under its trading company Besthope, also trades major ingredients throughout the country such as corn and cassava from the province of Mindanao, along with soybean meal. Most of the soybean meal used in both their own operations and produced for trading is supplied by local soybean traders. Mrs. Que said that they want to be assured of enough U.S. soybeans for the production of full fat soybean meal (FFSBM) in their extrusion plant. GAMC extrudes 1500-2000 MT of FFSBM per month.
The Philippines is U.S. Soy’s largest market for U.S. soybean meal outside of North America and so far this year has exceeded its FY 2015 same time last year by over 400,000 MT.
USSEC recently met with the Philippines’ Department of Agriculture – Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR) in Diliman, Quezon City to learn their plans and program for the country’s aquaculture sector over the next five years. The head of the Inland Fisheries and Aquaculture Division presented the newly approved “Comprehensive National Fisheries Industry Development Plan Medium-Term 2016-2020” (CNFIDP 2016-2020) to USSEC, after months of consultation from various fisheries sectors.
This is a new development for the aquaculture industry in Philippines, as it now has a focused vision for increasing aquaculture production over the next five years. The vision of the CNFIDP 2016-2020 is a “sustainable and competitive fisheries industry” and must address the following issues: sufficient contribution to national food security; inclusive growth within the industry; sustainable, science-based fisheries and aquatic resource management practices; compliance to international laws, policies and standards, and enforcement of local laws and regulations; strengthened capacities in infrastructure, technologies, human resource, and information sharing; and resilience to environmental hazards.
To achieve these goals, targets were developed through the combination of science-based information as presented by resource persons from academic and research institutions, and actual observed situational information from industry front liners.
The CNFIDP 2016-2020 has a target aquaculture production of: a 4 percent annual increase in milkfish production; a 6 percent annual increase in tilapia production; a 10 percent annual increase in shrimp production; a 5.4 percent increase in mud crab production over 5 years; a 10 percent increase in shellfish production over 5 years; and a 25 percent increase in seaweed production over 5 years.
BFAR’s aquaculture strategies to achieve these goals are similar with those of the USSEC Soy in Aquaculture program for the Philippines with strategies that include: secure quality fry/seed supply through coordinated investments in propagation facilities (broomstick, hatcheries, nurseries laboratories);institutionalize Good Aquaculture Practices (GAqP) for key commodities and promote sustainable aquaculture; assure quality and traceability of aquaculture inputs and outputs; invest in species with high commercial potential; optimize operation of mariculture parks; and ensure climate/disaster resilience of the aquaculture sector.
These strategies to increase production will use a lot of formulated feeds, ensuring an increase in demand for the usage of U.S. soybean meal and other soy products as the major ingredient of formulated aquafeeds.
USSEC conducted a two-day seminar/workshop on Animal Nutrition and Feed Formulation May 11-12 in Iloilo City, Philippines. The seminar focused on feed formulation in diverse manufacturing and production challenges. Among the participants were the nutritionists and production staff of the commercial feedmills of Philippine Foremost, the sister company of the biggest U.S. soybean meal importer in the country, along with other commercial swine and poultry farms.
The seminar’s theme, “The Science and Application of Animal Nutrition, Feed Production and Feed Formulation,” suggested the significance of using the right nutrient specifications of major ingredients, so the amino acid and energy source ingredients in feed formulation were discussed in particular. The higher digestible essential amino acid content of U.S. soybean meal versus meal of other origins was highlighted and used in the formulation exercises. Other topics included the production and utilization of full fat soy, fats and oil in swine and poultry diets, extrusion process, pest control, application of quality assurance and quality control measures.
The participants found the topics highly relevant and useful as they actively participated during the open forum and in hands-on exercise in feed formulation.
Extrusion technology has been the key tool for Vietnamese feedmillers to manufacture quality pellet feed for the country’s aquafeed market. This technology helps solve the problems of uneven size pellets; sinking vs. floating feed; extruder screw configuration; and calculating the die opening area, which are major concerns for feedmill staff. USSEC Vietnam conducted a tailor-made seminar with questionnaires sent to participants one month prior to the seminar date. Following the feedmill’s response, the seminar content was set up to give a solution to specific questions raised.
USSEC consultant and director of Texas A & M University’s Food Protein R&D Center Mian Riaz was invited to be the key speaker and to interact with feedmill participants for two in-house seminars in Binh Duong and Dong Thap provinces, and one public seminar in Saigon.
At the in-house seminars, participants felt free to express their technical issues. At the public seminar, where the production and formulation staffs came from different companies, it was assumed that the ambiance would be sensitive; the interaction was truly open, however, since feedmill staff could get a chance to share experiences from each other regardless of the competitive situation on the aquafeed market.
Plant protein, especially from soy, was concluded to be a good replacement to fishmeal to contribute to the stability of the pellet, thanks to its good functional protein properties.
Furthermore, participants were impressed by U.S. Soy production’s approach through the U.S. Soy Sustainability Assurance Protocol (SSAP) certification and reacted positively to U.S. Soy’s video “This is Harvest.”
USSEC – SEA held its Aquaculture Feed Nutrition Workshop in Manila on March 16.
The conference was organized by USSEC Technical Consultant, Aquaculture – Philippines Levy Manalac and USSEC Feedmill and Nutrition Consultant Mark Newman. Mr. Newman discussed what is new in fish and shrimp nutrition and how to utilize U.S. Soy products to reduce the amount of fishmeal and fish oil in aquaculture feeds. USSEC Technical Consultant, Animal Utilization – Philippines Basilisa Reas talked about the amino acid and energy in soybean meal used in poultry and livestock as a model for aquaculture nutrition. Katherine Bentoy, Alltech Technical Sales-Aquaculture, presented her experience with low and zero fish meal diets in the Japanese Marine Aquaculture Industry.
The workshop was attended by 29 participants from different aquaculture feedmills, a feed additive supplier, feedmill machineries, and an aqua feed formulation software in Philippines.
The USSEC aquaculture team recently visited an intensive shrimp farm in Indonesia.
USSEC Aquaculture Program Lead Technical Consultant – SEA Lukas Manomaitis, together with other USSEC contractors and representatives of Matahari Sakti feedmill visited Yu-Shan Phillip’s intensive shrimp farm in Sidayu Gresik. This is an important visit because it is an indication of a possible move to better culture practices in the shrimp industry where shrimp production is currently conducted in isolated, covered ponds instead of open ponds. This technology has been perfected in Brazil, according to the Global Aquaculture Association (GAA), and it is encouraging to see this technology now being tested in Southeast Asia. High intensity systems such as this favor high quality feeds that minimize fishmeal, a good target for U.S. Soy and U.S. soy protein concentrate (SPC) products in particular. The aquaculture team also plans to conduct a U.S. Soy-optimized shrimp feeding demonstration with Matahari Sakti Feedmill in FY16
As a result of raw materials and export prices falling throughout 2015 due to overproduction, many Vietnamese aquaculture farms switched from pangasius to other species for the local market, which caused a severe shortage of the fish. Beginning in February 2016, pangasius material price increased rapidly, and so at this time, farm companies that have a proper long-term investment strategy can reap the greatest benefits. Unfortunately, these companies are few in quantity compared to the rest of the Vietnam’s fish industry.
According to business consultants, this is the first time in 10 years that the pangasius industry faces a severe shortage of material.
As the first farm cooperator in Vietnam to apply In-Pond Raceway Technology (IPA), Tafishco, a farm and processing company that consults with USSEC, plans to improve its pangasius fingerling production. Tafishco began construction of the first IPA floating raceway at its farm in An Giang Province in February 2016. With this new technology, Tafishco expected to use fewer fingerlings (1.5 million with IPA compared to 7.5 million with traditional technique) to produce the same numbers of fish at harvest (300,000 pieces) from the same same pond size.
IPA is expected to help Tafishco eliminate fingerling shortage as well as produce enough raw materials for their processing factory from their own 30 hectares for pangasius production and other 70 hectares of contracted farms.
USSEC hosted a delegation of Minnesota farmers on its 2016 See For Yourself mission. The group met with USSEC and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) before touring a typical Hanoi marketplace.
About 45 percent of the general population in Vietnam is between 25 and 45 years old. The middle and affluent class in Vietnam is expected to double in size between 2014 and 2020, from 12 million to 33 million people, making Vietnam an important market for U.S. soybean farmers.
Mark Dries, Counselor for Agricultural Affairs for FAS, addressed the Minnesota delegation, telling the farmers that Vietnam is an important market for their product.
“This has been a big and growing market for you,” he said. “I think it is clear through your selection that you made a wise decision with your checkoff investments.”
USSEC Country Director – Vietnam Tran Trong Chien also addressed the delegation, talking about the growth of Vietnam, specifically in pork production and consumption, and the importing of feed ingredients.
“We have to import about 70 percent of the feed ingredients for livestock in Vietnam,” he said.
According to Mr. Dries, Vietnam is the 11th largest market for U.S. exports. While Vietnam imports 95 percent of its soybean meal and whole soybeans, the U.S. is competing with countries such as Argentina and Brazil for a place in the market. Of that market, Mr. Chien says Vietnam imports about 10 percent of its soybean meal from the U.S. and about 50 percent of its whole soybeans from the U.S.
“The government is very clear about the efficiency to produce soybeans in Vietnam,” Mr. Chien said. “It’s cheaper to import to supply the demand.”
Mr. Chien also told the Minnesota delegation that Vietnam’s pork, poultry and aquaculture industries are growing, on average, by 6 to 7 percent each year.
With more than 26 million hogs raised in the country, Vietnam ranks sixth worldwide in production and 7th in consumption of pork.
USSEC conducted marine fish hatchery technical servicing in the Philippines in February.
USSEC Technical Consultant, Aquaculture – Philippines Levy Manalac, USSEC Aquaculture Program Lead Technical Consultant – Southeast Asia (SEA) Lukas Manomaitis, and USSEC Asia Marine Specialist, Aquaculture – SEA Hsiang Pin Lan provided technical servicing to address fish health management issues and to help improve the survival rates, growth efficiency, and production of red coral trout and mouse grouper at the Palawan Aquaculture Corporation in Coron, Palawan, Philippines.
The 10th Asia Grain Transportation Conference, organized by USSEC, the U.S. Grains Council (USGC), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), was held in Phuket, Thailand. 140 delegates from 14 countries participated in the 1.5 days plenary (March 7-8) and 2 workshops on March 8.
Speaking at both the welcome dinner and the opening of the conference, Bobby Richey, Agricultural Counselor at the FAS-USDA for Thailand and Myanmar, expressed his excitement over the growth and the opportunities presented in Southeast Asia. He emphasized the need for companies to engage their business in a socially, economically, and environmentally responsible manner to ensure adequate supply for the future through sustainability practices, resonated in this year’s conference theme, “Building A Sustainable Food Supply Chain.”
U.S. Soy grower leader Jon Schaeffer, director of the South Dakota Soybean Association, spoke on the U.S. soybean crop outlook and showcased sustainability farming practices on his farm. Scott Gauslow, director of the North Dakota Soybean Council, further explained the investments, both public and private, that had been used for expansion, upgrading and improvement to storage facilities, load port logistics, rail, highway systems in the U.S. to deliver their quality soy to buyers in Southeast Asia. Both U.S. grower leaders were joined by Drew Parsley, director of Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council, and Mike Appert, director of North Dakota Soybean Council, in a candid and thought provoking panel discussion.
Many participants expressed that they had benefitted from the broad ranging yet in-depth and relevant discussions on key Asian markets, the global outlook for grain and soy, trends in ocean freight, and supply chains for food and agri-products. The panel sessions were also very well received and attracted good participation and responses from both ends.
Based on written evaluations submitted, of the 471,000 metric tons of U.S. agri-products transacted / negotiated, almost 300,000 metric tons or 63 percent were U.S. Soy valued at $110 million USD cost and freight equivalent. The 145,000 metric tons of soybeans and 152,000 metric tons of soybean meal translate to the equivalent of about 12.31 million bushels of soybeans.
USSEC Southeast Asia successfully hosted the Global Grain, Soy and Transportation Outlook on March 10 in Manila, Philippines. Held at the Marco Polo Ortigas, almost 100 commercial decision makers from grain and oilseed trade, livestock production integrators, compound feed producers, farmers associations and agricultural officials attended the event, which was an extension of the equally successful 10th Asia Grain Transportation Conference held earlier in Phuket, Thailand which saw 140 participants from Southeast Asia region.
Two morning workshops, jointly conducted by USSEC consultants Jay O’Neil of Kansas State University’s International Grain Program and Paul Smolen of Agri Networks Management, covered the main price components (basis and futures) which make up commodity price; price risks management using futures and options; and factors to look out for which impact global trade and prices.
In his opening address, USSEC CEO Jim Sutter congratulated the industry stakeholders for their collective efforts in successfully and effectively managing the issues posed by the Philippine Supreme Court’s recent ruling on biotech eggplants which posed a threat to crippling the importation of U.S. agricultural products.
Jon Schaeffer, director of the South Dakota Soybean Association, spoke about the U.S. soybean crop outlook and practices on his farm including a conservation reserve program, no-till practices, re-useable fuel, cover crops and technology; his efforts and contribution to minimizing his farm’s carbon footprint; and doing his part for sustainability. Mr. Sutter affirmed the U.S. Soy family’s commitment to continue using practices that are environmentally, socially and economically sustainable and explained the audit and certification process for both the production and export of sustainable soy.
Speakers Emily French, managing director of ConsiliAgra; Joseph Sowers, assistant regional vice president, South Asia, U.S. Wheat Associates; and Nicholas Hoyt, vice president of Informa Economics presented their outlook for the global oilseeds and grain crops and trade.
Mr. Smolen presented the soybean value package which buyers of U.S. Soy can expect to receive when they make their purchase – intrinsic values, extrinsic values, skills and learning and commercial relationships, while Mr. O’Neil summarized the freight outlook presented at the 10th Asia Grain Transportation Conference in Phuket, Thailand.
The Philippines is the biggest customer of U.S. soybean meal in Southeast Asia, the world’s 6th largest pork producer, and ranks 20th in global feed production. The total imports for U.S. soybeans into Philippines in MY 2015 are 115 thousand metric tons (TMT) and 1.42 million metric tons (MMT) for soybean meal, an 89 percent and 65 percent market share respectively.
Based on written feedback received, almost half a million metric tons of U.S. soybean meal were indicated to be transacted or negotiated by the participants at the conference for 2016 so far.
USSEC Aquaculture Program Lead Technical Consultant – SEA Lukas Manomaitis together with USSEC aquaculture consultants Pamudi, Sean Pin Lan and Levy Manalac, traveled to Indonesia and the Philippines to speak to key industry representatives who are looking at the expansion of aquaculture into offshore and industrial approaches. A marine fish culture industry using offshore approaches will be better able to showcase the value and utility of U.S. Soy, particularly U.S. soy protein concentrate (SPC) in the marine fish market.
It is anticipated that as the offshore cage culture of marine fish expands, high quality feeds, such as those using U.S. Soy and SPC in particular, will be required in large, consistent amounts.
USSEC conducted a two-day seminar on risk management and quality control in feed production February 16 and 17 at the Waterfront Hotel in Lanang, Davao City, Philippines. The workshop was aimed at commercial farms, feed mill owners and managers, nutritionists, and quality control officers.
The seminar’s theme, “Good Feed Manufacturing Practices for Global Competitiveness,” provided an excellent platform to extol the use of higher quality U.S. de-hulled soybean meal in animal feed. This point was emphasized along with other topics including precision in animal nutrition through digestible amino acid formulation, quality control measures, role of water activity in the quality, Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) Risk Control, tools in standard manufacturing and storage management, as well as other technical aspects in feed manufacturing, that were presented by industry experts.
This technical seminar, organized by USSEC Technical Consultant, Animal Utilization – Philippines Dr. Basilisa (Neneth) Reas, focused on tailored solutions to managing manufacturing and production challenges in the industry. Overall, the event was well-attended and well-received based on feedback from the participants. Among the more than 52 attendees were representatives from industry leaders such as San Miguel Purefoods Inc. (SMFI) nutritionists, Philippine Foremost’s Filipina Uygonco Corporation, Universal Feeds, General Milling Corporation, Pilmico and other large commercial feed millers and poultry/swine in-house feed producers.
The Philippines is the largest importer of U.S. soybean meal outside of North America. In FY 2015, the country imported about 1.4 million metric tons (MMT) of U.S. soybean meal. Filipino importers and end-users continue to price U.S. soybean meal at a premium over competition from other origins.
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 hosted a four-member team comprised of Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) directors C.W. Gaffner and Doug Schroeder, CEO Craig Ratajczyk and CFO Brian Hansen who visited Bangkok, Thailand from January 11-17. The Illinois delegates were joined by USSEC Regional Director – Southeast Asia (SEA) Timothy Loh, USSEC Program Management Consultant – SEA Soong Kim Lian and USSEC Country Representative – Thailand Opas Supamornpun. The delegation met with Agriculture Attaché, Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), U.S. Embassy, Bangkok Rey Santella, CP Food Group, local traders and the Thai Feedmill Association and discussed the present and future of Thailand’s agriculture sector, quality issues, and sustainability. Another highlight of the trip was witnessing the discharge of U.S. soybean and soybean meal vessels at the offshore anchorage discharge facility at Koh Si Chang while getting an update on
Thailand’s import potential of U.S. Soy products with Bunge Thailand. The team met key executives and toured the facilities at Thai Vegetable Oil’s crushing plant, Bangkok Ranch’s duck processing plant, and Betagro’s feedmill and pork processing facility. The delegation also had a taste of the country’s well known culture of hospitality when they were invited to sample Bangkok Ranch’s duck products and Betagro’s chicken and pork products – all reported to be fed with U.S. Soy!
Another five-member team including ISA directors Gary Berg, Stan Born, and Tim Scates, along with ISA Director of Strategic Research Programs Linda Kull and ISA Director of Issues Management & Analysis Mike Levin arrived in Jakarta, Indonesia on January 12 and were joined by USSEC’s Ali Basry, Country Representative – Indonesia; Gail Tan, USSEC Program Executive – SEA; Handiman, USSEC Program Executive – Indonesia; and Dady Maskar, USSEC Technical Consultant – Human Utilization, Indonesia. They were invited to the residence of Ali Abdi (Ag Counselor, FAS-USDA, U.S. Embassy, Jakarta) and interacted with customers of U.S. Soy, such as PT. FKS Multiagro and PT. Charoen Pokphand.
Over the next two days, the team visited the warehouse of PT. Jakarta Sereal (a U.S. soybean importer) in Cikarang, discussed their logistics operations and exchanged ideas on how the customer quantifies quality in their soybean shipments. In another meeting with FKS Multiagro, the largest importer of whole U.S. soybeans, the team learned how the company assesses soybean quality, brands their U.S. No.1 Soybean, and the usage of soybeans for tempe and tofu. The visit to KOPTI, a tempe producing co-operative in South Jakarta and a tour of their tofu and tempe facilities, also brought up the viability of bringing these local produce to other markets. According to Mr. Berg, “Overall, they were very happy with U.S. soybeans. The USA has a consistent production for meal, and they prefer U.S. soybeans for food.”
Both teams then converged in Manila, Philippines – the third biggest market for U.S. soybean meal globally – and commenced their intensive two-day program on January 18 with Ms. Soong; Ms. Tan; Dr. Basilisa Reas, USSEC Technical Consultant, Animal Utilization – Philippines); and Ted Cortes, Country Representative – Philippines. The group visited RDF Feed Livestock & Foods Inc, a fully integrated company (from feed production to animal raising to meat retail) and was introduced to company operations. After a lunch briefing by Pilmico Animal Nutrition (commercial feed and swine producer) and a tour of their feedmill facility, the team visited Great Harvest, a local trading company who buys U.S. soybean meal and gained insights from a customer’s perspective. At the FAS-USDA briefing room in the U.S. Embassy, Manila, Ag Counselor Ralph Bean made a country briefing before the delegation embarked on a Docent Tour in the Embassy and gained a better appreciation of the culture and history that has shaped Philippine’s consumption and economy. The meeting with key personnel from San Miguel Purefoods (a subsidiary of the largest food company in the Philippines) saw an active discussion on the company’s activities, quality attributes buyers look for in soybean meal and an exchange of contact information for future communication. The team also attended a networking cocktail reception held in honor of the ISA at the residence of Michael Klecheski (Deputy Chief of Mission, U.S. Embassy, Manila) attended by selected industry stakeholders. A short meeting with Bunge Philippines brought good news that a vessel of U.S. soybean meal had just been traded at the Import Group tender the same evening.
The team departed for Hong Kong on January 20 marking the close of their Southeast Asia trip. Mr. Berg concluded, “The Southeast Asia area has a very large and growing population and we wanted to promote Illinois and U.S. soybeans. It is much better to talk face to face. We are trying to build on current relationships and hopefully add new customers by listening to key concerns they might have.”
Mr. Gaffner said, “We went on this trip because [Southeast Asia] is the #1 growth area in the world. We need to make sure we are doing all we can to retain current users of our beans and see what we can do to grow our customers.”
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.