Thank you sponsors and participants for making TARS 2019 such a huge success! Get ready for TARS 2020 (Shrimp Aquaculture) taking place on August 19-20. Mark your calendars!

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Aquafeeds: Fit for Future

 August 14-15, 2019      Bali, Indonesia
Thank you sponsors and participants for making TARS 2019 such a huge success! Get ready for TARS 2020 (Shrimp Aquaculture) taking place on August 19-20. Mark your calendars!

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Growing pains and technology changes in India

Ravikumar Bangarusamy, Technical General Manager, Growel Feeds Pvt Ltd, India

In India, the introduction of modern shrimp farming in the early 1990s was the pull factor for the importation of shrimp feeds from producers in Asia and USA. Feedmills producing shrimp feeds were first established in 1994. During 2005-2010, the capacity was around 300,000 tonnes per year (tpy) and black tiger shrimp was the primary farmed species. Feed production was around140,000 tpy. The sector registered rapid growth after the introduction of the vannamei shrimp in 2010. Presently, the capacity for shrimp feed production exceeds 2 million tpy but local production is only around 1 million tpy. Imported feeds totaled 50,000 tpy. Rock bottom prices of shrimp coupled with disease problems, resulted in sudden declines in stocking of ponds in late 2018 and early 2019. Premature harvest due to disease outbreaks impacted all support industries including feeds.

India is the third largest producer of farmed fish in the world according to FAO. Until 2005, farmers fed fish with just rice bran and vegetable protein. Efforts by the American Soybean Association (now US Soybean Export Council) to spur soy consumption led to the establishment of a fish feed industry in India. The market for floating fish feeds soared to about 500,000 tpy within 10 years. There is also a strong market for pelleted, sinking feeds of about 100,000 tpy. In Andhra Pradesh, the main aquaculture production state, the fish feed market has stagnated in the last 5 years, due to unprofitable fish prices. While fish farming has spread throughout India, the concentration of the fish feed industry in Andhra Pradesh means that the cost of freight is prohibitively high for low-cost fish feeds in distant markets.

While many feed ingredients are locally available in India, providing an advantageous position, importation of animal origin ingredients and GMO crops are restricted, limiting the industry’s competitiveness. Spiraling prices of ingredient against stagnant or declining prices of fish and shrimp, have forced feed manufacturers not to increase feed prices.

To preserve margins, feed manufacturers need to apply innovations and come up with more efficient feeds, and application methods. As feed costs around 50% of operating costs in farms, the bulk of the burden on sustainable production through disease management and profitable farming technology, promotion of seafood for export and domestic markets fall on the shoulders of feed manufacturers. The future of aqua feed industry in India depends on how well feed manufacturers will be able to meet these challenges.

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