In the presence of the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Eduardo Lopes, Brazil's first feed complex specialising in high-quality compound feed for carnivorous fish was officially opened on 29 June in Rio Branco.
The mill has a capacity of up to 200 tons of feed per day, enough to supply Acre and neighbouring states. To support this output, the plant will use about 120 tons of grain per day, a product that will be purchased from farmers in Acre.
Local fish farmers hope the new plant will reduce the price they have to pay for feed and that aquaculture will flourish as a result. The feed produced by the factory will supply the local and national market, which is increasing. According to FAO, global fish consumption will double in 10 years and much of this growing demand is expected to come from Brazil.
Fish production in Acre is forecast to reach 22,000 tons in 2014/2015, according to the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture. In 2011, the figure was just 4,100 tonnes. With investment from the state government for the construction of tanks and reservoirs, and technical assistance amounting to BRR26 million, 4,200 units serving 3,500 families of farmers have been constructed.
A public-private partnership established in early 2011 involved small, medium and large fish farmers, investors and the state government in a plan to develop Acre's largest breeder and exporter of Amazon fish.
To appreciate the socio-economic effects of the initiative, a visit to the region reveals numerous excavations for fish farming ponds. According to Secretary of Agroforestry Extension and Family Production (SEAPROF) Mamed Dankar, 4,200 ponds have been excavated, providing 1,900 hectares of water, which, with proper management, should yield 22,000 of fish.
Alongside tank construction, SEAPROF has formed a partnership with the national rural education service to offer management training of 40 hours per class in three areas: construction of the tanks, management of water quality, and fish feeding and nutrition.
The state of Acre qualifies as the Brazilian gateway to Asia and Andean market through the opening of the Pacific Highway or Interoceânica (Interoceânica Carretera Sur), which cuts across Brazil and Peru. Fully paved, he highway is 2,600km long and connects the state capital, Rio Branco, with the ports of Ilo and Matarani in Peru on the Pacific coast as well as through Brazil via the Midwest and Southeast markets to the ports of the Atlantic.
Processing plants for the international market are situated in Rio Branco and in Cruzeiro do Sul, 700km to the west.