Thailand's volume of aquafeed increasing in response to growth in aquaculture

Profiled and inexpensive ingredients needed to reduce commercial feed costs plus standard formulations for nutritionally balanced farm-made feeds required, conference delegates told
March 8, 2006

In spite of disease problems with viruses -  namely WSSV, TSV and IHHNV - very high larval stocking density in intensive cultivation has allowed Thailand to produce 340,000 tons marine shrimp in 2005.

In her welcoming address at the Optimize for Profit Feed Technology workshop in Bangkok, Thailand, Dr. Juadee Pongmaneerat, Senior Expert Aquatic Animal Nutrition at the Thai Department of Fisheries said 330,000 tons of shrimp were anticipated for 2006.

Total production of freshwater aquaculture in 2003 was about 361,125 tons, valued at 13,171 million Baht, Dr. Juadee said.

The freshwater species in Thailand that have the highest economic value are giant freshwater shrimp, Nile tilapia, catfish, striped snake-head fish and common silver barbs. Freshwater shrimp and Nile tilapia are Thailand’s main and most important aquatic animals. 

Feeds for all of these species needs to be developed for least cost formulation. Feed has inevitably played a major role in production costs: some 30-40% of the cost of Thai aquaculture comes from the cost of feed. Various feeds are exploited in aquaculture farming in Thailand, such as fresh, farm-made feed and commercial feeds.  Commonly used fresh feeds are trash fish, fishery by-products, poultry by-products and kitchen waste.  These fresh feeds are easily spoiled and transmit disease.

Dr. Juadee told more than 130 delegates that attended the meeting held alongside Victam Asia 2006, that standard formulations for nutritionally balanced farm-made feeds that incorporate local raw materials are required, in addition to good processing practices. 

"While commercial feed normally used in intensive and semi-intensive culture systems is cost effective, they reduce profitability. All feeds need profiled and inexpensive ingredients to reduce production costs", she said.

Today 149 feed facilities have been registered as meeting the Feed Quality Act for aquatic feeds with the Department of Fisheries, including premix, supplemental feed, concentrate feed and complete aquafeed.  In 2006 there are 64 complete feed manufacturing plants: 31 shrimp feed mills, 15 fish feed mills and 18 mills that produce both fish and shrimp feed. 

"It is a good sign that the numbers of feed mills has increased by 21 from the year 2002: 8 shrimp feedmills, 8 fish feedmills and 5 shrimp/fish feedmills" Dr. Juadee said.

This increase in aquatic feed manufacturing is driven by the epidemic of Bird Flu, which has raised demand for aquatic animals. In addition, because of drug and chemical residue problems, farmers who culture freshwater shrimp have turned to using more commercial feed instead of on-farm mixed feed. The culture of white shrimp has also expanded.

The Department of Fisheries has realized the importance of developing a system leading it to GMP and HACCP standards.  At present, the Department of Fisheries has accredited six aquatic feedmills according to GMP standard and three aquatic feedmills according to HACCP standard; while six aquatic feedmills are pending in the accreditation process (three plants according to GMP and three according to HACCP standards). In the near future, CODEX will establish a Code of Practice for Good Animal Feeding and encourage Thailand to use the same standards. Thailand as a food exporting country and regarded as the World’s Kitchen, must inevitably develop and enhance its competitive capability to eliminate trade barriers of the future.

"The policy regarding aquatic animals is to provide safety for consumers", Dr. Juadee said. "Feed and materials must be qualified and safe for consumption; therefore feed should be manufactured according to established hygiene and quality standards".

Feed must also contains nutrients for aquatic animals with no prohibited substances. "The price of feed should be reasonable and also acceptable to the fish farmer", she added.

(100 Thai Baht = 2.57981 US Dollar at today's rate).

The Optimize for Profit Aquafeed Technical Workshop was organized by, in association with the Thai Department of Fisheries and Victam International. The next Optimize for Profit Aquafeed Technical Workshop will take place at Victam International 2007, Utrecht, the Netherlands in May 2007. For information contact: