Yalelo to build pioneering fish feed mill in Zambia

By Jane Byrne contact

- Last updated on GMT

First dedicated fish feed plant planned for Zambia
First dedicated fish feed plant planned for Zambia

Related tags: Fish feed, Aquaculture

Zambian based tilapia producer, Yalelo, will become a vertically integrated operation when its $6m aqua feed mill opens at the end of 2016.

Technology provider and feed mill developer, Famsun, is building the new facility for the Zambian aquaculture player. The plant is set to come on stream late next year.

Adam Taylor, Yalelo chairman, told FeedNavigator that, up to now, the farmed fish producer, which is owned by investment group, Oakfield Limited, has been sourcing its tilapia feed from three local suppliers.

But those firms, he said, are really only geared up for poultry feed production as the aquaculture sector is somewhat in its infancy in Zambia.

“The fish feed side of those operations are bolt-on businesses. Yalelo anticipates that it will outgrow such local fish feed supply and recognizes it has to modify formulations to optimize tilapia production given that feed quality and costs can make such a difference to the bottom line for fish farmers,”​ said Taylor. 

Yalelo also wants to encourage new entrants into the aquaculture sector, both in Zambia and in southern Africa, he said.

Modular design

“The new mill will be the first dedicated aqua feed facility in Zambia, and it is envisaged that capacity at the plant can be scaled up based on interest in our high quality formulations from other farmed fish producers in the region,”​ said Taylor.

The facility will have an initial capacity of 25,000 tons annually with modular design enabling that to increase to 50,000 tons per year to meet growing demand.

The mill is set to include technology for ultra-fine pulverization of raw materials as well as PLC automated micro-dosing and vacuum liquid coating.

“We have a consultant nutritionist engaged in development of preliminary formulations. And while this won’t be innovation at the level of cutting edge European fish feed R&D work, we expect our lines to certainly be an improvement on existing tilapia feed in Zambia,”​ said Taylor.

Environmental impact

Yalelo, said Taylor, also aims to minimize the environmental impact of farmed fish production both through the feed plant’s structure and feed formulation.

In terms of mill design, we will have dust collection and ventilation throughout to ensure comfortable working conditions. The Famsun DCC extrusion pre-conditioner reduces water usage and by installing the latest equipment models, particularly the new dryer design, we expect good energy efficiency.

And, in terms of formulation, we will continue to use no antibiotics, no growth hormones and less than 2% fishmeal.

We will also procure over 90% of our raw ingredients from within Zambia — non GMO soy and maize — supporting local communities and minimizing food-miles.

Producing local fish using local ingredients is much more environmentally friendly than shipping soybeans from Argentina to China and then frozen fish from China to Zambia. It also supports local farmers and local communities,” ​said Taylor.

Premixes will be sourced from international suppliers based in South Africa, he said.

Investment urged

The African Development Bank, in February this year, called for more investment in Zambia’s aquaculture sector, according to a report in the Zambia Daily Mail.

The Bank said development of hatcheries, cages and ponds was needed to make up for a shortfall in domestic production compared with demand.

The current estimate for annual fish production in the African country is about 85,000 metrics tons, while the estimated national demand stands at 145,000 MT, indicating a deficit of 60,000 MT.

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