Egypt’s soybean imports to grow 181% as tilapia production soars


The demand for US, Argentine and Brazilian soybean out of Egypt is expected to grow strongly in the coming years, according to a report by the US Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN).

Already the world's second-largest tilapia producer after China, Egypt's government is targeting an increase in aquaculture production of around 35% by 2018, to hit 1.8 million metric tons.

“Concomitant to that production growth, there will be an increase in fish feed demand of around 720,000t, of which 302,000t will be met by imported soybean meal,” said GAIN.

In 2015, Egyptian aquaculture produced 1.56m metric tons – almost 79% of the country's fish consumption needs. The 1.8m target is expected to be around 86% of total fish production.

At the moment, 73 privately-owned feed mills provide 90% of aquaculture feed in Egypt, said GAIN.

“The most common recipes for fish feed production use soybean meal at 30-40%, and fish meal at 5-22%; although the latter is increasingly displaced due to its high cost,” the body wrote.

This should be good news for the soybean exporters of the US, Argentina and Brazil, the key sellers to Egypt; the US especially, as Egypt's soy processors have shown preference for US soybean meal due to the quality of cooking oil derived from this raw material, wrote GAIN.

By 2020/21, soybean imports are projected to increase by 181% to 3.56m tons, driven both by aquaculture and Egypt’s expanding soy-crushing industry.egypt

The feed industry estimates that the aquaculture feed market demand will exceed 1.5m tons annually by 2020. To meet the increase in feed required, significant investments in aquaculture feed are taking place, GAIN noted.

Nutreco-owned Skretting tripled its annual tilapia fish feed capacity to 150,000t with investments in 2015, stating, "tilapia farmers are professionalizing at a rapid pace, which is increasing demand for extruded fish feed”.

“Through the investment in extruded fish feed capacity and regional R&D, we can support more customers in increasing their efficiency and profitability," said Harm de Wildt, managing director for Nutreco's operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Danish firm Aller Aqua is also aiming to double its marine feed production in Egypt, to reach 150,000t, by 2017.

Aller Aqua is the only company that produces shrimp feed, in addition to fish feed.

Investment opportunities in tilapia

Egypt has the largest aquaculture industry in Africa. The total market value of the industry was US $2.2 billion in 2015, according to GAIN.

The government there believes that both freshwater and marine aquaculture have an important role to play in creating jobs and lifting people out of poverty, as well as promoting healthy diets.egypt1

Experts expect it to reveal a number of major projects in marine aquaculture, and for these to be presented to domestic and foreign investors.

The General Authority for Fish Resources Development manages farm licensing, aquaculture land use regulations, extension and research services. The organization’s stated goal is to raise total fish production by 34.6%, to reach 2.1m tons by 2018.

The rise in aquaculture production is mainly down to significant expansion in the application of new technologies such as the use of extruded feed, water circulation systems, and improved farm management practices, wrote GAIN.

“Small and medium scale fish farms have intensified their fish production from earthen ponds using these new technologies, rendering farmed tilapia one of the cheapest sources of animal protein available to Egyptian consumers.”

“This semi-intensive aquaculture system is by far the most widely-used fish farming system in Egypt, contributing to 80% of total production. Intensive systems in tanks and cages are rapidly developing.”


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