Farm-made aquafeeds

Table of Contents

Edited by
Michael B. New
Marlow, Buckinghamshire
United Kingdom

Albert G.J. Tacon
FAO Fisheries Department

Imre Csavas
FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific
Bangkok, Thailand

The designations employed and the presentation of material in this publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.

ISBN 92-5-103597-0

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying or otherwise, without the prior permission of the copyright owner. Applications for such permission, with a statement of the purpose and extent of the reproduction, should be addressed to the Director, Publications Division, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy.

ASEAN-EEC Aquaculture Development and Coordination Programme
Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations Rome, 1995


In December 1993, an expert consultation on farm-made feeds was jointly organized by the FAO Regional Office for the Pacific and Asia (FAO-RAPA) and the ASEAN-EEC Aquaculture Development and Coordination Programme (AADCP). The proceedings of this meeting, the first to specifically address this topic, were edited by staff of AADCP and FAO. First published as FAO/RAPA Publication 1993/18 and AADCP Publication AADCP/PROC/5, the costs of production were shared by FAO-RAPA and AADCP. Demand was high and the original limited edition was only available in English. The book has been reprinted as an FAO document because of the importance of farm-made feeds in aquaculture and in order to broaden its distribution. Translation into other official FAO languages will also make the information available to more member states. Though the book concerns experience in the use of farm-made aquafeeds in Asia, it is also of particular relevance to Africa and Latin America.


FAO Fisheries Department
FAO Regional Fisheries Officers
FAO Aquaculture Projects

New, M.B.; Tacon, A.G.J.; Csavas, I.(eds.)
Farm-made aquafeeds.
FAO Fisheries Technical Paper. No. 343. Rome, FAO. 1994. 434 p.
This book is the proceedings of a meeting held in Bangkok in December 1992 on the use of farm-made feeds in Asia. It contains eleven country reviews of the topic, for Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Nine technical papers are also included. Three are on-farm feed preparation and feeding strategies - for carps and tilapias, for catfish and snakehead, and for marine shrimp and prawns. Five other working papers are on economics, the selection of equipment, feed ingredients, formulation and on-farm management, and supplementary feeding in semi-intensive aquaculture, all directed at farm-made, rather than commercial feeds. The ninth working paper is a regional overview of aquafeeds in Asia. An analysis of the material in the eleven country papers is also presented. Emphasis is placed on the importance role, hitherto not completely recognized, of farm-made aquafeeds to aquaculture production in Asia. While it was estimated that 50% of shrimp production from aquaculture comes from commercial feeds, only 10% of Asian finfish is currently produced in this way. Although statistical data is non-existent it was speculated that over 1 million t of farm-made feeds are produced annually in Asia and that about one third of Asian finfish and crustacean production is achieved partially through their use. The proceedings also include the official report of the meeting, with recommendations aimed primarily at those concerned with research and development on aquafeeds and those organizations that fund such work. A strong plea is made for more attention to be paid to the needs of the small-scale farmers already using, or with the potential to use, farm-made feeds. Commercial feedstuff manufacturers are generally able to fund their own research and development on complete feeds for use in intensive aquaculture.

Hyperlinks to non-FAO Internet sites do not imply any official endorsement of or responsibility for the opinions, ideas, data or products presented at these locations, or guarantee the validity of the information provided. The sole purpose of links to non-FAO sites is to indicate further information available on related topics.


Preparation of this document
Report of the expert consultation
Aquafeeds in Asia - a regional overview
Supplementary feeding in semi-intensive aquaculture systems
Feed formulation and on-farm feed management
Feed ingredients and quality control
On-farm feed preparation and feeding strategies for carps and tilapias
On-farm feed preparation and feeding strategies for catfish and snakehead
On-farm feed preparation and feeding strategies for marine shrimp and freshwater prawns
Selecting equipment for producing farm-made aquafeeds
Economics of on-farm aquafeed preparation and use
Aquafeeds and feeding strategies in Bangladesh
Aquafeeds and feeding strategies in Cambodia
Aquafeeds and feeding strategies in China
Aquafeeds and feeding strategies in India
Aquafeeds and feeding strategies in Indonesia
Aquafeeds and feeding strategies in Malaysia
Aquafeeds and feeding strategies in Nepal
Aquafeeds and feeding strategies in Philippines
Aquafeeds and feeding strategies in Singapore
Aquafeeds and feeding strategies in Thailand
Aquafeeds and feeding strategies in Vietnam
A summary of information on aquafeed production in eleven Asian countries
M.B. New and I. Csavas
List of participants


(14-18 December 1992, Bangkok, Thailand)

Opening of the session

  1. The FAO/AADCP Regional Expert Consultation on Farm-Made Aquafeeds was held at the premises of the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific(RAPA) in Bangkok, Thailand, from 14 to 18 December 1992.

  2. The meeting was attendedby 15 participants from ten Asian countries, three staff members of AADCP, and four staff members and three consultants of FAO. Six national/international organizations(ASA,AIT,BOBP, BP Nutrition,SEAFDEC AQD and SEAPRODEX) delegated eight participants to the Expert Consultation at their own expense.

  3. Welcoming addresses were delivered by Mr. Imre Csavas, Regional Aquaculture Officer, on behalf of FAO and Mr. Michael B. New, Coordinator, on behalf of AADCP.

    Organization of the meeting

  4. Participants elected Dr. Felicitas P.Pascual as Chairperson of the Expert Consultation and Dr. M.C. Nandeesha as Rapporteur.

  5. The draft agenda of the meeting was adopted without changes.

    Papers presented

  6. A total of 10 country papers on aquafeeds and feeding strategies were presented at the Expert Consultation , covering Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

  7. Another 9 technical papers covering crucial aspects of aquafeed manufacturing and use as well as farm-made feed preparation and feeding strategies for the most important species groups were also presented by acknowledged experts in these special fields.

    Summary of findings

  8. The Consultation recognized the fact that the bulk of Asian finfish and crustacean aquaculture production is currently realized in semi-intensive pond farming systems. The great majority of these farming systems, and in particular freshwater non-carnivorous finfish production (which accounts for over 80% of the total finfish production in Asia) depend upon the use of farmmade feeds. Some intensive systems, notably the cage culture of marine fish and some carnivorous freshwater finfish(e.g. snakehead and catfish species), also use farm-made feeds. Only about 10% of Asian finfish production is based on the use of commercial feeds, whereas almost 50% of shrimp production depends on commercial feeds.

  9. It was realized that there is a lack of an exact definition for farm-made aquafeeds. For the purpose of this Expert Consultation farm-made feeds were defined as feeds in pellet or other forms, consisting of one or more artificial and/or natural feedstuffs, produced for the exclusive use of a particular farming activity, not for commercial sale or profit.

  10. The Consultation recognized that there is an increasing tendency for farmers to utilize commercial feeds formulated as nutritionally complete diets in semi-intensive pond-farming systems. However, the Consultation reiterated that the nutrition and feeding of finfish and crustaceans in semi-intensive pond farming systems are complex and poorly understood; little or no information being available on dietary nutrient requirements of the cultured species in such systems. To a large extent this is due to the difficulties of quantifying the contribution of naturally available food organisms in the overall nutritional budget of pond-raised finfish or crustaceans.

  11. The Consultation recognized that farm-made feeds facilitate the use of locally available agricultural products and wastes of agro-processing industries that would otherwise have limited use within the community. In this respect, their use in farm-made feeds has significant environmental advantages. However, the Consultation also recognized the current dependence of commercial and, to a lesser extent, farm-made feeds upon animal protein sources and the need to identify and utilize alternative protein sources which are both inexpensive and sustainable.

  12. The Consultation recognized that farm-made feeds are potentially cheaper than commercial aquafeeds and that there is scope for a reduction in feed and farm production costs using appropriate on-farm feed management techniques for semi-intensive and some intensive aquafarming systems.

  13. The Consultation recognized that farm-made feeds fill an important niche for small-scale farmers which is not covered by commercial feedstuff manufacturers. However, it was also noted that those farmers whose initial success was based on the use of farm-made aquafeeds often shift to the use of commercial feeds. Thus improvements in the production and use of farm-made feeds would ultimately benefit the feedstuff industry as well.


  14. 14. This Consultation being the first which has dealt with farm-made aquafeeds, participants unanimously recommend that the proceedings of the Consultation should be published , with an analysis of the information in the country papers, and circulated widely to governments, international agencies, and potential donors to:

  15. The approach towards this topic should be “bottom-up” rather than “top-down”; preconceived ideas should not be forced on farmers but

  16. Recognizing that farm-made feeds can utilize locally available ingredients, simple and cheap methods of increasing their nutritional value for fish and crustacea should be developed, with particular reference to digestibility, removal of toxic substances, and palatability.

  17. Bearing in mind the needs of small-scale farmers.

  18. Considering that farm-made feeds, whether for intensive aquaculture (e.g. marine fish in cages or snakehead in ponds) or for semi-intensive systems (such as pond culture of freshwater prawns), feed advisers should formulate feeds based on:

  19. Bearing in mind that the potential for improved profitability in small-scale aquaculture is greater through improvements in feeding strategy rather than through perfect dietary composition, developmental work should focus on:

  20. In view of the need for training of farmers in simple formulation and in ingredient choice, aquafeed processing, storage and on-farm feed management,