The US Soybean Export Council (USSEC) organized its first Middle Eastern Aqua Investment Conference in November, in a bid to convince the region’s aquafeed producers of the merits of using soy in extruded feeds.
The event started with one-on-one meetings in Egypt, followed by a two-day seminar in Dubai, followed by two days of one-on-one meetings in Turkey.
More than 80 participants from 10 different countries – including Turkey, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Oman, UAE, Lebanon, and Jordan – attended the conference.
Speakers from different parts of the world included American Soybean Association (ASA) director Jeff Sollars; United Soybean Board (USB) director Robert Stobaugh; USSEC Regional Director – EU/MENA Brent Babb; Muntaser Dawwas, CEO, Invest Bank; USSEC Marketing Director – International Aquaculture / Customer Focus Colby Sutter; Mian Riaz, Director, Food Protein R&D Center, Texas A&M University; Michael Martin, Regional Sales Director, Insta-Pro International; Tim O’Keefe, President, Aqua-Food Technologies, Inc; G Ramesh, Technical Sales Advisor, Aqua Feed Division, Wenger Manufacturing Inc; Djamal Djouhri, CEO, Al Ghurair Resources; and USSEC consultant Sirri Kayhan.
USSEC has a long-time relationship with Texas A&M University and sends participants from all over the world to attend aqua feed extrusion short courses offered by the Food Protein Research and Development Center in College Station, Texas. USSEC also has long-term relationship with Insta-Pro International, Wenger Manufacturing, and Aqua-Food Technologies, where all parties cooperate to develop the international markets of soybeans and soybean products.
Information provided by the speakers included: an update of USSEC’s global aquaculture programs; starting aquafeed production with small-scale, scalable extrusion plant; overview of aqua feed production; cost effective feed formulations in challenging economic times; managing the feed business around formulation; new advances in aqua feed extrusion technologies; investment opportunities in MENA’s aquaculture industry; financing and funding options by banks and investment funds for aquaculture projects; finance opportunities for the aquaculture industry; aquaculture developments in Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Tunisia; and success stories.
Insta-Pro’s Michael Martin commented: “The high level of audience participation and networking was a measure of the success of the event, which comes at a time when countries throughout the region are expanding their seafood production in response to consumer demand and food security concerns. Representing Insta-Pro International, a member of USSEC, I appreciated the opportunity to present Insta-Pro’s aquafeed technology to this high-level audience. As often happens at this type of event, the networking opportunities were as valuable as the presentations themselves.”
He also congratulated the USSEC team’s efforts on a “first-class event that will assist aquaculture operators in Turkey, the Middle East and North Africa to plan for the future and expand their operations, which will inevitably raise demand for U.S. Soy.”
G Ramesh of Wenger stated: “Wenger has been a proud member of USSEC since its inception and we continue to enjoy the partnership in promoting the use of soy via extrusion processing across several food and feed related industries. The recent 1st Regional Aqua Investment Conference organized by the USSEC MENA regional office in Dubai was the latest example of the opportunities provided through this cooperation. The aquaculture industry in this region has shown significant signs of growth, and this conference provided a forum to educate participants in the benefits of soy inclusion in these extruded feeds.”