News: Southeast Asia
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.
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.