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Soybean Meal Demand From Pakistani Aquaculture Runs Deep

Kansas soybean farmers help create potential new market

Lucas Heinen, a soybean farmer from Everest, Kan., was surprised at how much he had in common with the Pakistani aquaculture-industry representatives who recently traveled more than 7,000 miles to Kansas State University (K-State) last year for aquaculture training. He found them eager to cooperate on the important task of feeding their nation, the sixth-most-populous country in the world.

“We come from two very different countries, but we have common ground,” says Heinen, a director on the Kansas Soybean Association. “Both countries can open doors and benefit by growing Pakistan’s aquaculture industry, which needs quality feed to contribute to its goal of improving diets in the country.”

The World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH), in collaboration with K-State, launched “FEEDing Pakistan” in 2011. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service funds the three-year effort to support the Pakistani government’s priority to reduce the country’s “protein gap” and meet the nutrition needs of its 187 million people. The Kansas Soybean Commission also has used soy checkoff funds to support WISHH’s work in Pakistan.

Pakistan has an extensive system of fish farming, but produced no commercial floating fish feeds before the FEEDing Pakistan program launched.

Major soybean meal demand projected

According to a USDA Global Agricultural Information Network report published last year, there is great potential for an increase in U.S. soybean-meal exports to Pakistan to be used for fish-feed production. The report forecasted a 525 percent increase in aquaculture production in Pakistan by 2022. The report also projected an increase in demand for soybean meal from 42,000 tons to 260,000 tons. That’s the meal from nearly 10.8 million bushels.

K-State provided technical assistance and conducts training courses about fish-feed manufacturing and best management. A previous trainee ordered feed-extrusion equipment and began producing floating fish feed in July 2013. Under the FEEDing Pakistan program, WISHH shipped 27 tons of high-protein U.S. soybean meal to Pakistan to jump-start floating-fish-feed manufacturing.

“Fifty years of U.S. soy market development have shown that we should help people understand how to use soy for human food and livestock and aquaculture nutrition,” says Heinen, who also serves as WISHH committee secretary. “We can create markets for U.S. soy and benefit many partners throughout the agricultural value chain that leads to healthier diets.”

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