The company said it has invested in an extra line at its existing tilapia feed facility in Bilbeis in the eastern part of the Nile Delta, bringing its fish feed capacity to 150,000 tons in Egypt.
Skretting said the extra capacity will allow it to better serve the Egyptian tilapia sector with high quality extruded fish feed, as well as technical expertise and support.
Egypt is the world’s second largest producer of tilapia fish. The growth of its aquaculture sector has been significant in recent years and production is expected to grow further from 1.3m tons in 2014 to 2m tons in 2020. Over 580,000 people are employed in the sector.
Skretting has also announced a five year research collaboration with not for profit group, WorldFish, that it said will support the sustainable development of aquaculture in the region.
“It has always been our policy to work with partners that have local or regional expertize in all the projects we do. While we have strong research capacity, a research institute like WorldFish has good relationships with local producers and can educate farmers in sustainable production methods,” a spokesperson for Nutreco told FeedNavigator.
WorldFish focuses on reducing poverty and hunger by improving fisheries and aquaculture.
Extruded fish feed
The choice of extruded over pelleted fish feed for tilapia production in the region is critical, with Egypt’s producers professionalizing at a rapid pace, continued the spokesperson.
Skretting said extruded feeds allow more of the feed to be actually digested by the fish.
“As opposed to pelleted feeds, it is much easier to adjust both the nutritional quality and the physical quality such as density of extruded feeds and, thus, produce a feed that is tailor made for either a particular fish species or a development stage of the fish,” said the Skretting spokesperson.
The use of extruded feeds, he said, results in more resource efficient tilapia production and less pollution, so it is a more sustainable model long term.
Harm de Wildt, managing director for Nutreco´s operations in EMEA, said the additional capacity investment and research project in Egypt underscores the group’s commitment to the African market.
Nutreco entered Africa in 2001 by acquiring a share of the Egyptian company Hendrix Misr, which came under full ownership in 2013 and was renamed Skretting Egypt.
It also increased its presence in 2014 through a fish feed joint venture in Nigeria. “That is progressing well. The joint venture is moving in the right direction,” said the spokesperson.
The company said further investments in Africa are currently being explored.
The spokesperson said Nutreco ensures investments are not undermined by political upheaval in an unstable region by “investing in good, local management to build the business. But that strategy would apply to all our undertakings globally - whether that business was in China, Ecuador or Egypt, we would take the same approach.”