Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page

Chapter 21. Manufacturing Compounded Feeds in Developing Countries


K. W. Chow
Food and Agriculture Organization
Rome, Italy


Compound feeds for intensive fish culture have been developed in a few industrialized countries where preference for fanned fish is increasing. To meet animal protein needs in developing countries, efforts are being made to develop aquaculture on an intensive scale.

The major areas for improvement to increase productivity in aquaculture are synonymous to those in animal husbandry. These have been defined by FAO as:

(i) the improvement of stock through genetic selection, with the particular aim of breeding animals capable of high feed conversion,

(ii) the use of protective measures against diseases and pests,

(iii) the adoption of modern feeding practices using balanced rations, and

(iv) the use of feed additives to assist in achieving high feed conversion rates.

There are still many gaps in our knowledge concerning the nutrition of most fish species cultured in the tropics. Some progress has been made in other area; e.g., species selection, fish health, artificial spawning, and fish pond and hatchery management. This has made it possible for the successful practice of warmwater fish culture in a few developing countries. Nevertheless, growth and productivity of animals (fish are not excepted) are keyed to the provision of nutritionally adequate diets. That feed cost in intensive fish culture represents the largest value input underscores the impact improved feed conversion will have on profitability in commercial aquaculture. Research in warmwater fish nutrition continues to fill gaps concerning nutrient requirements for maximum growth and will undoubtedly lead to successful development of artificial diets based on tropical feed-stuffs.

Economic application of new technologies is geared to mass production of the new products. Where demand is sufficiently large, commercial production of formulated fish feed becomes feasible. In many instances, artificial pelleted fish feeds can be manufactured in mills designed for the production of feeds for livestock and poultry provided fine milling of properly selected ingredients permits the production of water stable pellets. The formulation of fish diets and the manufacturing processes involved have been discussed in earlier chapters and will not be reiterated here.

The principal cost in the manufacture of compound feeds is that of raw materials; this could amount to as much as 80 percent, or more, of the manufacturing costs in large size mills. Because of increasing transportation costs and the need to conserve foreign exchange, the tendency in most developing countries will be to use locally available ingredients. Although many developing countries remain food deficit, the supply of feedstuffs in some (especially of mill by-products and crop residues) is moving toward surplus as a result of the introduction of new high-yield crop varieties and expanded food processing practices.

Traditionally, the animal feed milling industry has been linked to the supply of raw materials. In recent years, due to increasing world demand, most feed ingredients have become articles of international commerce. As a result, quality has become more consistent for most feedstuffs. Availability is often just a matter of agreeing upon prices between trading partners. Feed mills, too, are now being located in areas where they can take best advantage of markets for finished products and of alternate supply sources for raw materials.

In countries where animal husbandry has not developed beyond small family holdings, expertise in commercial methods of compound feed manufacturing is lacking. Most developing countries now possess some commercial capability in animal feed production. In many of these countries, however, the feed processing industry is dominated by foreign enterprises which hold as propriety knowledge all vital information concerning the industry.

Compound feeds are unique among manufactured products in that they represent, as it were, a vital link in the human food chain. Like other links in natural food chains, one diet may differ from another generically, yet both satisfy to the same degree the nutrient requirements of the animal. For example, the dietary needs of rapidly growing broiler chickens can be just as satisfactorily met by a ration made from mixtures of tropical feeds tuffs such as rice bran, cassava, groundnut cake, copra cake, fish meal, and leaf meal, as by another ration made from mixtures of maize, soyabean meal, fish meal, and alfalfa meal. Considering the urgent need for increased animal protein production and the under-utilization of primary food resources in many developing countries, the establishment of viable feed processing industries in those countries represents a special challenge with broad socio-economic ramifications for national governments and almost unlimited opportunities for entrepreneurs.

For the reasons stated earlier concerning the uncommon flexibility of the feed industry, any attempt at describing details for the establishment of a "typical" feed mill in a particular geographic region will be too narrow in scope to serve the purpose of this training course. Instead, an attempt will be made to identify salient considerations that should precede the construction of such a "typical" mill. Guidelines are also provided for data collection to enable the investor, public or private, to tailor the mill to particular needs.


A. The Concept
B. Requirements of a Feed Mill
C. Planning the Project

A. The Concept

A.1 Type of Factory

A.2 Marketing Appreciation

A. 2.1 Product list
A.2.2 Target turnovers

A.3 Costs and Capital Requirements 1/

1/ For an in-dept analysis of feed manufacturing costs and capital requirements, see 'Feed Manufacturing Costs and Capital Requirements', by Carl J. Vosloh, Jr., Economic Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculure, Agricultural Economic Report No. 335, 1976

A.3.1 Amount capital required
A.3.2 Sources of capital

A.4 Development and Other Grants

A.5 Location

A.5.1 Proximity to markets
A.5.2 Proximity to raw materials
A.5.3 Other considerations

A.6 Availability of Labour

A.7 Raw Materials

A.7.1 Local A.
A.7.2 Imports

A.8 Transport and Communications

A.9 Public Services

A.9.1 Electrical power
A.9.2 Fuel oil
A.9.3 Water

A.10 Site Considerations

A.10.1 Size of site

A.10.1.1 Warehousing and raw material space
A.10.1.2 Future expansions

A.10.2 Access road
A.10.3 Topography

B. Requirements of a Feed Mill

B.1 Production

B.1.1 Material handling

B.1.1.1 Weighbridge for both deliveries and dispatches
B.1.1.2 Adequate handling facilities for rapid material flow
B.1.1.3 Adequate storage space for bulk and sacked materials

B.1.2 Product manufacturing

B.1.2.1 Size reduction
B.1.2.2 Conveying
B.1.2.3 Mixing
B.1.2.4 Pelleting and crumblizing
B.1.2.5 Bagging-off

B.1.3 Warehouse

B.1.3.1 Protection from elements
B.1.3.2 Rodent and insect pests control

B.1.4 Laboratory

B.1.4.1 Raw material check
B.1.4.2 Product quality control
B.1.4.3 New product development

B.2 Technical and Engineering

B.2.1 Building

B.2.1.1 Elevation
B.2.1.2 Roof
B.2.1.3 Floor
B.2.1.4 Walls
B.2.1.5 Doors
B.2.1.6 Lighting

B.2.2 Services

B.2.2.1 Electricity
B.2.2.2 Steam
B.2.2.3 Water

B.2.3 Machinery

B.2.3.1 Installation
B.2.3.2 Maintenance

C. Planning the Project

C.1 Phase One - Inception

C.1.1 The feasibility study team

C.1.1.1 The project team
C.1.1.2 The management team

C.1.2 Primary considerations

C.1.2.1 Market analysis
C.1.2.2 Availability of raw materials
C.1.2.3 Labour
C.1.2.4 Transport and communications
C.1.2.5 Political issues
C.1.2.6 Technical and process know-how
C.1.2.7 Contractual procedures

C.1.3 Outcome of phase one

C.1.3.1 Decision on parameters considered
C.1.3.2 Definition of responsibilities of various personalities involved in both teams

C.2 Phase Two - 'The Brief'

C.2.1 Precise instructions to project team from management team

C.2.1.1 Preparation of lay-out drawings
C.2.1.2 Detailed report on all elements of the project

C.3 Phase Three - Design

C.3.1 Project team's tasks

C.3.1.1 Translation to physical terms
C.3.1.2 Committing all arrangements to paper

C.4 Phase Four - Construction

C.5 Phase Five - Commissioning

Previous Page Top of Page Next Page