USSEC Co-Organizes Landmark ASEAN Aquaculture Industry Summit for Industry and Governments to Discuss Opportunities and Challenges in the Aquaculture Sector
- General News
USSEC, together with the U.S. Grains Council (USGC), U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and Foreign Agriculture Service USDA, jointly organized the 1st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Aquaculture Industry Summit from June 2-4, 2015, at the St. Regis Singapore.
Over 90 representatives from governments, academia, trade associations, industry, and investors converged for two and half days of plenary and roundtable sessions that addressed four core areas of stakeholder interest: best practices in ASEAN aquaculture farm management; strategies and future of ASEAN feed management; regulation and legislation in aquaculture; and investment in aquaculture.
The U.S. Soy Family was represented by USSEC Secretary and Illinois Soybean Association director Sharon Covert and R.J. Campbell, field service manager for the Nebraska Soybean Board, who were led by USSEC Marketing Director – Aquaculture/Customer Focus Colby Sutter. Dr. Mike Cremer, USSEC’s Senior International Aquaculture Program Advisor, and Lukas Manomaitis, Southeast Asia Regional Technical Director – Aquaculture, participated in the roundtable discussions sharing their extensive experience and expertise. USSEC Regional Director – Southeast Asia Timothy Loh and the SEA team were on hand to provide assistance and support at the event.
U.S. Ambassador to Singapore, H.E. Kirk Wagar, remarked in his address, “Very few industries in the world can boast 7.8 percent annual growth over the past two decades, but aquaculture is one of them.” The two main goals of the conference are to: bring together key industry decision makers and influencers to discuss the issues and challenges that maybe hampering the aquaculture sector from realising its potential; and to find common ground in developing a roadmap towards regulatory and certification harmonization among ASEAN.
The overall feedback from participants was very positive. In an online poll conducted at the end of the conference, over 90 percent of respondees indicated the preference to continue this event next year.
Aquaculture has been one of USSEC’s cornerstone programs for over a decade and with good reason. Asia account for about 90 percent of global aquaculture production with four of the top ten aquaculture producers in the world hailing from Southeast Asia, accounting for about 20 percent of the feed-based aquaculture production volume globally.
“ASEAN has about 9 percent of the world’s population and covers a land area of 4.5 million square kilometers or about 3 percent of the world’s total land area. The seas covered by ASEAN are about three times larger than its land area. With limited arable land, aquaculture will continue to play a very important role in providing both food security and social and economic development,” says Mr. Loh.
As the world becomes more globalized, exports will continue to play an important role in the industry. “Aquaculture, above anything else, defines the mantra: ‘When trade works, the world wins,”’ adds Kevin Roepke, USGC Regional Director for Southern Asia and Oceania. “Fish is the world’s most valuable exported food commodity with a total value over corn, soybeans and beef combined. Its role in achieving global food security cannot be overlooked.”
In terms of nutrition and cost efficiency, feed management and technology in aquaculture is still lagging behind that of terrestrial livestock. Increased usage of quality vegetable protein sources as a mainstream raw feed ingredient in aqua feed will continue to grow against concerns for sustainability, disease and cost control. This trend bodes very well for U.S. agricultural exports, particularly U.S. Soy.