African and Asian fish to feed on US grains

By Lynda Searby

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/wlfella
© GettyImages/wlfella

Related tags: Africa, Asia, Ddgs, barley, tilapia

The US Grains Council (USGC) is advancing a strategy to promote corn co-products including new high protein distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) to aquaculture producers in the high-potential North African and Southeast Asian regions.

The trade association is working to overcome the challenges presented by small volumes and fragmentation to stimulate demand from the aquaculture industry for DDGS and other grain co-products.

“DDGS always fit well with the aquaculture sector; it’s just that feed volumes are relatively small and the industry is highly fragmented. However, the opportunity is there and the Council is trying to expand its engagement with this growing sector,”​ a USGC spokesperson told FeedNavigator.

Aquaculture in North Africa and Southeast Asia presents a particularly attractive target outlet for US grains, as “a new market opportunity and growing industry”​ said the spokesperson.

“In addition, the US ethanol industry is producing high protein DDGS products that fit well into this high value market,”​ noted USGC.

North Africa: early engagement essential

Egypt leads North Africa in aquaculture production and USGC reported that it was still seeing significant investment in new aquaculture operations there.

There is also investment going into other parts of the region. The Moroccan government, for example, has a program to promote aquaculture development. In the light of this, the USGC applied for and was awarded a $200,000 grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to engage with the aquaculture sector. The USGC said the grant will be used to teach Moroccan feed millers about the necessary equipment and technology to produce high performing aquaculture feeds.

“With significant investment being promoted in North Africa, it is important to engage early in the industry growth,” ​said the spokesperson.

Asia: targeting new species

In Southeast Asia, USGC is hoping to build on several years of trials and promotional work aimed at increasing the use of DDGS in tilapia and pangasius diets.

“We are looking at how we can position DDGS and the newer high protein DDGS products to fit into shrimp, carp, salmon and other saltwater fish as well as tilapia and pangasius diets in the different markets across Southeast Asia,” ​said the spokesperson.

This foothold in aquaculture, coupled with rising exports of DDGS into the region’s swine and poultry sectors, make aquaculture a logical target for expansion.

“Due to the established trade flow and logistics of these corn co-products into Southeast Asia

and the growing aquaculture sector in the region, expanding DDGS to different types of aqua diets as well as exploring new possibilities for the high protein DDGS products was a natural step,” ​noted USGC.

New barley protein on the horizon

Whilst corn co-products DDGS and corn gluten meal (CGM) are the primary grains that USGC is promoting to these regions, it said there are also opportunities for sorghum and a new barley protein product that is currently in development.

“We have looked at sorghum and even conducted some trials in Vietnam using this white/tan colored grain to replace cassava and other related ingredients in freshwater fish diets,” ​said USGC.

The spokesperson added: “There is also now a movement towards commercialization of an extracted barley protein product that could be used in various aqua diets as well as other applications. But that is still a year or so away from being available commercially.”

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