After the introduction of Penaeus vannamei, the shrimp feed business in the country underwent a great change. New companies entered the feed business and existing feed companies expanded.
Now India has nearly 25 aquafeed companies. The total production of aquafeeds in 2014 was estimated at 1.25 million metric tons of fish and shrimp feed. Shrimp feed production was approximately 600,000 tons, and fish feed production was 650,000 tons. If all the smaller feed mills were included in this survey, the total feed production in 2014 would have been more than 1.5 million tons.
The major shrimp feed companies are CP Aquaculture (India), Avanti Feeds, Godrej Agrovet, Growel Feeds, The Waterbase, Grobest Feeds and Nexus Feeds. CP Aquaculture (India) and Avanti are the market leaders and together they sold an estimated 500,000 tons of shrimp feed in 2014. CP Aquaculture (India) continues to invest in buying and building new feed mills. Demand for shrimp feed is increasing and in 2015, Avanti Feeds is planning to sell 50% more feed than in 2014. Some shrimp feed companies, however, are only using 50% of their production capacity. In 2016, some companies will cease operations if they do not change their marketing strategies and improve their feed quality and technical services for farmers.
Feed mills sell their feeds mainly through distributors and a network of dealers. Corporate farms buy directly from the feed mills. Feed mills also explore ways to increase feed sales and market share with incentives and discounts. Farmers are attracted by quality feeds, good feed conversion ratios, healthy shrimp and successful crops.
In India, feeds are sold on credit. With large volumes of credit given out, many of the smaller feed companies are facing losses and are contemplating selling their plants and business. The larger companies with stronger financial resources will survive. Feed prices are different for cash and credit buyers. At present, the retail price for shrimp feed is approximately $1.10 to $1.40 a kilogram. Farmers paying cash are given a discount of 10-15%, while dealer discounts are usually 10-15%. The feed mill profit is 10-15%.
Shrimp feeds have crude protein levels ranging from 32-38% and fat levels of 5-6%. Some companies have produced extruded sinking pellets for shrimp, but they have not been very successful. Feed companies focus on growth rates. In the field, shrimp farmers are getting feed conversion ratios from 1.4:1 to 1.8:1.
Domestically produced fishmeal, meat meal and soybean meal vary in quality, and prices for them fluctuate. Most of the good quality raw materials are exported. Imports of animal meal are not allowed, and the import tax for soy, corn and wheat by-products range from 30 to 40%. Some raw materials such as squid meal, krill meal and fish solubles are difficult to procure and are very expensive.
It is a challenge to formulate consistently good quality feeds in India. To reduce feed cost, feed mills make many compromises in their raw material purchases. Some small companies don’t use premixes, and some use poultry premixes. Most of the branded feed additives are available, but their usage is minimal because they are expensive.
The hatchery feed business is growing in India. Multinationals such as Zeigler Feeds (USA), INVE (Belgium), Biomar (Denmark) and Nutreco (Norway) sell hatchery feeds in India. The demand for good quality shrimp postlarvae, especially specific pathogen free (SPF) postlarvae, is high. Throughout the coastal belt there are hundreds of shrimp hatcheries.
[Source: Shrimp News International. Read article]