Aquaculture for all

Asia's fish farms developing appetite for soymeal

FLORIDA - Farmed fish in China are developing an appetite for soymeal, and rapid expansion of that country's aquaculture sector represents a growing market for U.S. soybeans, a U.S. industry official said on Thursday.

China is the world's top producer of farmed fish, primarily carp and tilapia. The country's aquaculture industry uses 4.5 million to 5 million metric tonnes of soymeal a year.

"We think this market can double within a decade, easily. And that's up from zero, 10 years ago," said Brent Babb of the U.S. Soybean Export Council.

China is also the largest customer of U.S. soybeans, which is processed into soyoil and soymeal.

The council has been working for roughly a decade to promote soymeal use in China's fish farms. In the last two years, the council has expanded those efforts to India, which has the world's second-largest aquaculture industry.

"We see opportunity there. Their economy is improving, and the first thing they want to do is improve their diet," Babb said on the sidelines of the Commodity Classic, a U.S. grain industry conference.

China, India and other nations are turning to aquaculture to meet rising demand for fish as ocean-caught supplies become less sustainable.

Source: REUTERS India