Middle East / North Africa
The MENA region is home to 380 million people or 6 percent of the global population. The regional GDP is 4.5 percent of the world’s GDP with wide geographic swings. The countries of Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and Israel import over 150,000 metric tons of U.S. Soy and the region represents 4 percent of total U.S. Soy exports.
Egypt is the most important market for the U.S. Soy industry in the region as it approaches 1 million tons of imported U.S. Soy. The Egyptian crush industry continues to show strong growth with several local crush plants expanding and in some cases doubling their production. The Egyptian poultry industry remains strong along with the aquaculture industry, which now produces over 1 MMT annually with tilapia as the primary species. Soy extrusion and full-fat soymeal production is increasing throughout the region and Saudi Arabia’s poultry and dairy industry is very strong.
The North Africa countries of Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, and Algeria were the fastest growing feed industry in the world by percentage last year despite ongoing challenges in the region.
USSEC and the U.S. Soy industry have faced some operational interruptions in this region due to ongoing conflicts in several countries. The region also faces some challenges with poultry disease issues, specifically in Egypt and Tunisia. Yet investments in animal agriculture and infrastructure are ongoing with significant investments in soy crushing/extrusion, soy oil refining and port infrastructure in Egypt and other countries. Investments in poultry, dairy, aquaculture and feed production are also occurring throughout the region even as government/social transitions continue. Regional markets for soybeans, soy oil and soybean meal are all considered as growing by USSEC.
Middle East / North Africa Directory
Middle East / North Africa News
USSEC held one-on-one workshops in Morocco May 7-10 to further expand knowledge on aquafeed, fish nutrition, and production.
Escorted by USSEC consultant – Morocco Khalid Benabdeljelil, USSEC consultant Tim O’Keefe, president of Aqua-Food Technologies, Inc., visited with several operators in the aquafeed industry to address specific issues.
Extensive fishing of small wild fish species caught and transformed into fishmeal and oil for aquafeed needs pushes feed manufacturers to look for alternative ways to face ecological, economical, and nutritional challenges.
A strong reliance on fishmeal and oil as sources of nutrients for farm-raised fish is not sustainable. Reducing dependence on fish oil and meal and developing alternative sources of protein and oil contributes to the success of the aquaculture industry.
Soy-based aquafeed helps reduce the “fish-in: fish-out” ratio in the production of major farm-raised fish species. U.S. soybean meal and soy protein concentrate inclusion in sustainable feed can produce wholesome nutritious fish for Morocco’s growing market.
Formulating high performance soy-based feed for Mediterranean fish species on sound nutritional considerations were among the issues discussed with major feed producers, as well as the current challenge in finding alternative sources.
As new aquaculture projects are being developed, growing sustainably ultimately builds opportunities for U.S. Soy products in aquafeed.