USSEC Leads Marketing Mission to Aquaculture Industries in China, SEA
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.