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.