Egyptian aquaculture has almost trebled since 2005 and will continue to grow thanks to a booming tilapia sector, said the fish feed manufacturer.
The start of this year saw Skretting Egypt launch a new product into the local market - Nutra for tilapia. The range, it said, consists of high-performance starter diets by providing the specific nutrients and right particle size for each life stage – from egg to fingerling.
The specialized feeds are aimed at improving the performance of hatcheries in Egypt and beyond, said the company. Nutra, it said, is also being rolled out to fish farmers in Kenya, Uganda, Cote d'Ivoire and Mali.
Nile tilapia is the cornerstone of fish farming in Egypt, which is by far the biggest aquaculture producer in Africa. With 900,000 tons of tilapia harvested annually, the country has risen to become the sixth largest aquaculture producer in the world. Its total aquaculture output (all species) of 1.4m tons now exceeds that of the salmonid farming giants of Norway (seventh-placed) and Chile (eighth-placed).
Source: Skretting, March 2019
The introduction of Nutra was recently followed by Protec for tilapia, a new functional diet designed to help support tilapia and enhance their ability to cope during challenging situations, including the hot summer seasons. Protec works to support the natural defenses of the fish, their immune system and is intended to optimize the balance between fish, microbes and environment, said the company.
Arjen Roem, marketing director, Skretting Africa, said both those products are global in reach. “We will supply the African markets from Egypt, but we also intend to sell these products in Asian and Latin American markets later this year.”
The two diets are the result of a series of trials across multiple global locations coordinated by researchers at Skretting Aquaculture Research Centre (ARC), said the company,
In terms of what scale of farmer they would typically suit, Roem told FeedNavigator: “All of our products are suitable and profitable for small and large tilapia farmers. Protec is obviously a more advanced product requiring good management practices in terms of water quality, biosecurity and data recording at the farm.”
Water quality challenges
When asked whether there were similar disease challenges in Egyptian tilapia production as in other producing countries, he noted:
“Some disease challenges are global, others can be more local. Many bacteria are globally present but local strains determine virulence. In Egypt, the number one challenge is water quality and availability during summer when biomass in the water increases together with bacterial challenges.”
In terms of take-up, he said 99% of the tilapia farmed in Egypt is consumed locally, with small exports to the Middle East.
Sustainable development of fish farming in Africa
In 2015, Skretting Egypt announced a five-year research program with World Fish to support the sustainable development of aquaculture in the region. Maria Angela Calmet Gutierrez, project manager sustainability, Skretting Africa, gave us a brief synopsis of where that project is at right now.
“We are currently working with WorldFish on tilapia nutrition in their research centre in Abbassa. We hope to publish a paper this year.
“We strengthened the relationship with WorldFish in 2018 by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). We will work together to understand and develop the aquaculture industry structure and farming practices in Africa.”