March 7, 2014
Kansas Soy Commission Lucas Heinen, was surprised at how much he had in common with the Pakistani aquaculture-industry representatives he met at Kansas State University (K-State) last year and found them eager to cooperate on the important task of feeding their nation.
Heinen, a Kansas Soy Association director and the American Soy Association's World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH) committee secretary, again visited with Pakistani aquaculture leaders this month. A delegation recently travelled more than 7,000 miles for aquaculture training at K-State's International Grains Programme. The course concluded February 21.
WISHH, in collaboration with K-State, launched "FEEDing Pakistan" in 2011. The USDA Foreign Agricultural Service is funding the three-year effort to support the Pakistani government's priority to reduce the "protein gap" and meet the protein needs of its 187 million people. The Kansas Soy Commission also has supported WISHH's work in Pakistan.
Pakistan has an extensive system of fish farming, but no commercial floating fish feeds were produced in the country until FEEDing Pakistan.
"Marine fish catch is down, and processing plants are running at about 30% of their capacity," said R.S.N. Janjua, the WISHH representative in Pakistan. "FEEDing Pakistan reduces the protein gap through the introduction and production of high-protein fish feeds made with soy."
There is a great potential for an increase in US soymeal exports to Pakistan to be used for fish-feed production, according to a USDA Global Agricultural Information Network report published last year. The report forecasted a 525% increase in aquaculture production in Pakistan and an increase in demand for soymeal from 42,000 tonnes to 260,000 tonnes. Such projections highlight the significant connection between trade and development programmes.
Training courses about fish-feed manufacturing and best management and provides technical assistance to industry stakeholders were conducted by K-State. A previous trainee and co-owner of a Pakistani company learned about potential for growth in the aquaculture industry. As a result, he ordered feed-extrusion equipment from Extru-Tech in Sabetha and formally inaugurated Pakistan's first extruder for the production of floating fish feed in July 2013. Under FEEDing Pakistan, WISHH shipped 27 tonnes of high-protein US soymeal to jump-start floating-fish-feed manufacturing.
WISHH has provided US soy-formulated floating feed for demonstrations, reaching hundreds of farmers. FEEDing Pakistan demonstration of tilapia averaged 21 ounces per fish -- double the weight of traditional Pakistani fish harvests. The tilapia received a premium in the local marketplace and increased enthusiasm for further development of Pakistan's aquaculture industry with soy-based fish feeds. Pakistani fish farmers never had seen such results.
"Those results are also important to Kansas farmers," Heinen said. "Fifty years of US soy market development have shown that we should help people understand how to use soy for human food and livestock and aquaculture nutrition. We can create markets for US soy and benefit many partners throughout the agricultural value chain that leads to healthier diets."