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Michael B. New1 and Imre Csavas2

1 ASEAN-EEC Aquaculture Development and Coordination Programme (AADCP) P.O. Box 1006, Kasetsart Post Office Bangkok 10903 Thailand

2 FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific Maliwan Mansion Phra Atit Road Bangkok 10200 Thailand

NEW, M.B. and I. CSAVAS. 1993. A summary of information on aquafeed production in eleven Asian countries, p. 397-419. In M.B. New, A.G.J. Tacon and I. Csavas (eds.) Farm-made aquafeeds. Proceedings of the FAO/AADCP Regional Expert Consultation on Farm-Made Aquafeeds, 14-18 December 1992, Bangkok, Thailand. FAO-RAPA/AADCP, Bangkok, Thailand, 434 p.


The information summarized in this paper originates mainly in the country papers presented at the FAO/AADCP Expert Consultation on Farm-MadeAquafeeds (New et al. 1993). Information from some of the working papers presented was also utilized. The countries included in the consultation were Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Some background information about each of the countries was provided in the country papers, concerning demographic, topographic, agricultural, fisheries and aquacultural matters, by each of the authors. Being of a general nature, this material is not reviewed in our paper, which concentrates on the information presented which related directly to aquafeed production and use.


Those who wish to produce either commercial or farm-made aquafeeds have access to all the normal ingredients used in the manufacture of feeds for poultry, pigs and cattle. However the growth of more intensive forms of aquaculture, requiring the use of supplementary or “complete” feeds, places increased competition on limited resources. This is exacerbated in the case of some ingredients because much of the more intensive types of aquaculture involves carnivorous species, thus making substantial demands on animal proteins, particularly marine proteins. The cost of aquaculture feeds will reflect the severity of competition and the availability of conventional feedstuffs in each country. Some countries, such as Thailand, have most ingredients locally available, importing only high quality fish meals for shrimp feeds, and vitamins, minerals and other minor ingredients. Others, like the Philippines and Singapore, import virtually all their major feedstuff ingredients though, in the case of Singapore, demand is low.

The local abundance of certain raw materials is naturally reflected in their use for aquafeed production. This is particularly noticeable in Bangladesh and India, especially because of the importance of carps amongst those species which are fed, in the use of a wide range of oil cakes. While vitamin premixes designed especially for aquafeed are readily available in Thailand they are not yet so in China or in most of the other developing countries in Asia. There is a tendency to utilize vitamin and mineral premixes designed for other species, particularly in farm-made aquafeeds. Rice byproducts, not surprisingly, are a dominant feature of the cereal content of aquafeeds in the countries surveyed. Detailed information on the composition and current costs of conventional feedstuff ingredients are presented in the relevant country papers. Some countries prohibit, as in the case of Bangladesh, or control the import of major feed ingredients. Import duties are variously applied but exemptions, as in the case of India. where an incentive for the development of foreign exchange-earning aquaculture is provided, exist.

Besides the conventional ingredients used by commercial feedstuff manufacturers, a wide variety of less conventional raw materials are locally available. These valuable ingredients are unsuitable for use in commercial feedstuff manufacture but are often ideal for farm-made aquafeeds. Farm-made aquafeed production can adapt more easily to ingredients which are only available seasonally, or in small quantities, or are moist. Their use for farm-made aquafeeds prevents their wastage and may remove an environmental hazard. Some of these less conventional ingredients are listed in Table 1, while others appear in the list of ingredients actually used in farm-made aquafeeds shown in

Tables 2 and 3. Some of those described variously as slaughterhouse wastes, viscera or offal and regarded as waste products in one country may be used for human food, in another (e.g. blood), while others (e.g. gut contents) are often totally discarded. Others, such as earthworms, may be developed as human food resources in the future. Thus, products which some think of as “waste” products, may not be regarded as such in other places. Ultimately supply and demand will, as always, govern the use of such less conventional ingredients in aquafeeds. A waste is no longer a waste when it has a use, and aquaculture is just one more factor in the demand situation. Some of the more interesting less conventional ingredients which can be, or are, used in farm-made aquafeeds include silkworm pupae, frog wastes, wastes from tofu and noodle manufacture, culled eggs, bread crusts, terrestrial and aquatic vegetation, wet fish and crustacean processing wastes, and “trash” fish.

Table 1. Availability of less conventional (1) ingredients for potential (2) aquafeed use in Asia in 1992
Kitchen wastes+          
Slaughterhouse wastes.++ +     + 
viscera/offal (3)           
Earthworm meal   +       
Trash fish (3)     + ++++
Fish silage+  +       
Crust. waste/meals+  +       
Silkworm pupae+  +       
Frog wastes+          
Squid wastes   ++      
Molluscan wastes   +       
Soybean curd    +    + 
(tofu waste)           
Waste noodles         + 
Sago palm         + 
Sweet potatoes          +
Mung bean         + 
Pulse brans+          
Leaf meals    +  + + 
Seaweed meals    +      

(1) not normally used by commercial feedstuff manufacturers

(2) as mentioned by authors of country papers (New et al., 1993); similar ingredients also exist in other countries butwere not listed

(3) several country papers note competition for these ingredients as food for humans

Table 2. Major ingredients used in farm-made fish feed production in Asia in 1992
BROODSTOCK FEEDS (1)           
Fish meal+  +      +(2)
Groundnut extractions          +(2)
Pulses   +       
Broken rice   +       
Rice bran          +(2)
White corn          +(2)
Vit./min.premixes          +(2)
NURSERY FEEDS(1)           
Cooked animal feeds          +
Fish meal+     +    
Soybean milk          +
Soybean meal      +        
Silkworm pupae+          
Vit./min. premixes+          
GROW-OUT FEEDS           
Fish meal  +    ++++(2)
Trash fish or tilapia +   + ++++
Fish processing wastes +         
Crustacea        +  
Fish oil         + 
Animal viscera     +   + 
Culled eggs     +   + 
Meat and bone meal          +(2)
Sunflower cake  +        
Soybean cake/meal    +   +++(2)
Tofu waste    +    + 
Mustard oil cake+  +       
Rapeseed cake  +        
Sesame oil cake+          
Unspecified oil cakes  +   +    
Groundnut cake   +     + 
Cottonseed cake  ++       
Sweet potatoes          +
Leaf meals/leaves    +    ++
Grasses     ++    
Aquatic vegetation +     +  +(2)
Cassava         ++
Bread crusts/wastes     +  +  
Noodle wastes     +   + 
Rice bran+++++++++++(2)
Broken rice +    +  + 
Oats        +  
Wheat flour      ++++ 
Wheat bran+ +   + +  
Maize (corn)     +   ++(2)
Corn gluten        +  
Starch binder        +  
Vit./min. premixes   +   ++++(2)

(1) ingredients listed are additional to those used in grow-out feeds in the respective country

(2) experimental diets

Table 3. Major ingredients used in farm-made crustacean feed production in Asia in 1992
MARINE SHRIMP           
Trash fish  +      ++
Fish meal+  +     ++(1)
Crust. meals/wastes   +     + 
Krill          +
Squid meat/meal   +     + 
Snail meal   +       
Other molluses  ++      +
Animal viscera+          
Blood meal   +       
Meat and bone meal   +       
Liver meal   +       
Chicken eggs         + 
Fish oil   +     + 
Animal fat          +(1)
Vegetable oil   +       
Yeast         + 
Maida   +       
Mustard oil cake   +       
Soybean cake/meal   +     ++(1)
Groundnut cake/meal   +     + 
Extracted groundnut   +       
Sunflower cake   +       
Sesame cake   +       
Tapioca   +       
Broken rice         + 
Rice meal   +      +(1)
Rice bran+  +     + 
Wheat flour+  +     + 
Wheat bran   +       
Wheat gluten         + 
Millet   +       
Maize (corn) meal   +       
Brown sugar         + 
Zeolite         + 
Binders         + 
Vit./min. premixes   +     ++(1)
Trash fish     + +  +
Krill          +
Molluscs          +
Fish meal         + 
Trash fish         + 
Crustacean wastes         + 
Clam meat   +       
Mussel meat   +       
Snail meat   +       
Animal viscera     +     
Compound animal feeds         + 
Groundnut cake   +       
Soybean meal         + 
Coconut oil cake         + 
Rice bran   +     + 
Broken rice         + 
Maize (corn) meal         + 
Wheat flour         + 
Tapioca flour         + 
Vit./min. premixes         + 

(1) experimental diets

Scientists are aware of the need to replace animal proteins, particularly fish meal, with plant proteins in the formulation of aquafeeds for carnivorous species. Encouraged by a trade association, work in this field is on-going throughout the region, including China and Thailand, on the use of soybean products. Fresh fish, while an “unconventional” ingredient for commercial feedstuff manufacturers, whose equipment cannot handle it, is nevertheless “conventional” to farmers growing marine fish in Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand, for example. This is also true in Japan, where fresh fish is either added to “complete” commercial aquafeeds to improve the latters' performance or is added to commercial ingredient “concentrates” designed for farmers making their own feed. Even as alternative compounded feeds for marine finfish are developed and become commercially available to a limited extent, farmers prefer to use trash fish, to which their stock so obviously respond in terms of palatability, growth rate, survival and product quality. Trash fish is also a major ingredient for farm-made feeds for freshwater fish, notably catfish and snakehead in Thailand. While trash fish remains locally available, at a price which makes profit achievable, it will continue to be used. However, its use may be restricted to those farmers who are able to “corner” the market because they have sufficient financial resources, or have been farming for a long time. Other farmers may not be able to obtain supplies of trash fish regularly enough to utilize this ingredient. The same applies to some other ingredients, such as poultry viscera. Supply, demand and influence play significant roles in the utilization of less conventional feedstuff ingredients.


Thailand undoubtedly has the most sophisticated commercial aquafeed manufacturing industry amongst the eleven countries reviewed, having developed this on the foundations of an existing large animal feedstuff manufacturing sector, abundant local ingredient sources, a dynamically expansionist aquaculture sector and extrepreneurial spirit. In terms of quantity however, Thailand appears to be topped, unsurprisingly, by China (Table 4) by a factor of almost two. Subsidiaries of Thai aquafeed companies exist in many countries of the region, including Indonesia and China. Indonesia and the Philippines also have significant commercial aquafeed manufacturing sectors; in common with Thailand, the driving force has been the demands from a rapid expansion of intensive shrimp farming. In China, production of commercial aquafeeds for freshwater finfish exceeds that for marine shrimp. This is also true of India, reflecting the importance of freshwater fish in the aquaculture of both countries. In the Indian sub-continent this may change, as marine shrimp culture increases in importance. Only Pantha (1993) and Nandeesha (1993) attempted an estimate of the production level of farm-made aquafeeds; these were for Nepal (4,000 t/yr) and India (>165,000 t/yr) for carps alone.

Table 4. Characteristics of commercial grow-out aquafeed production in Asia in 1991/2
Number of aquafeed mills           
shrimp feed1nil20016437nil124914
fish feed1nil1,4006+31>5nil13nil
Installed capacity of aquafeed mills (t/yr)           
shrimp    363,400     2,300
Actual production (t/yr)           
freshwater fish feeds720(2)nil400,00035,000n.a.n.a.10912,000nil45,840nil
shrimp feeds1,440(2)nil300,00020,00060,350n.a.nil46,0003,500336,160810
Farm-made feed production (t/yr)           
carps   >165,000  4,000    

(1) based on 28.5 t/hr × 8 × 260 days/yr
(2) based on 1992 10-month production × 1.2

While only thirteen aquafeed mills were reported in Thailand, a similar number was recorded for Vietnam (with a fraction of the output), and more in Indonesia and the Philippines. Clearly the capacity of the mills is very different. This is particularly so in the case of China, where 1,600 commercial mills producing aquafeeds were reported. Some authors had difficulties in deciding what constituted commercial aquafeed production and what should be regarded as farm-made aquafeeds when their papers were prepared. This is not surprising since a working definition of farm-made aquafeeds was not developed until the meeting convened. This definition, recorded in paragraph 9 of the official report of the expert consultation, limits farm-made feeds to those “made for the exclusive use of a particular farming activity, not for commercial sale or profit”. Thus aquafeeds made by a cooperative of farmers would not be regarded as commercial, but as farm-made feeds. Drawing an exact line between the two is difficult but the following concept may help. If aquafeed production is farmerdriven it is “farm-made”; if stimulated by the existing feedstuff industry, it is “commercial”. Thus feeds made by individuals or groups of individuals who are primarily farmers are farm-made. Those manufactured by companies, whose primary business is animal feedstuff production and which have diversified into aquafeeds, or which have set up specific aquafeed mills, are commercial.

Reviewing the information summarized in Table 4, and making the assumptions of an 8-hour working day and a 260-day working year, the production rate of Chinese aquafeed mills averages just over 210kg/hr, whereas those in Thailand average more than 14 t/hr. In the case of Vietnam the limited production of shrimp feeds averages less than 30kg/hr. In India, freshwater fish feed production averages 2.8 t/hr. In Bangladesh only one aquafeed mill was reported, which is clearly commercial. Its production to date, on the same assumptions, averages about 1 t/hr. In Indonesia, 43 shrimp feed mills were reported, with a production of over 60,000 t/yr; average production was thus about 0.7 t/hr. It is clear that many of the apparently vast number of commercial mills making aquafeeds in China do so as a very ancillary activity or, under the definition developed during the meeting, are actually “farm-made” feed production units. Perhaps in refining the definition, scale should also enter the equation. “Small-scale aquafeed production” might be more appropriate terminology, with perhaps 2,000 t/yr (about 1 t/hr) set as the line which delineates it from “commercial” production. There are many examples of aquafeed production which is very obviously “farm-made” which exceeds 1 t/yr at peak production periods, but production is intermittent and these farms would certainly not exceed 2,000 t/yr.

In another paper (New and Csavas 1993) we attempted to derive figures for commercial aquafeed production in Asia-Pacific in 1990, with predictions for 2000. We used the definition indicated above for farm-made feeds, which were excluded from our calculations. It is interesting to compare our estimates for four countries (China, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand), and those of Akiyama (1992a, 1992b),with those of the authors of other papers of the consultation (Table 5). At first glance it would seem that we (New and Csavas 1993) were very conservative in our estimates, which we derived from a series of “first principle” assumptions, whereas Akiyama (Akiyama 1992a, 1992b) was much closer to the mark for shrimp feed production but wildly over-optimistic for freshwater fish feed production. The Akiyama (1992b) estimate for finfish feeds in China is 2.25 times higher than reported production; ours is about 3% of actual ! As noted earlier, if “farm-made” or “small-scale” aquafeed production had been excluded, true “commercial” production of finfish feeds in China would have been very significantly less than 400,000 t, though perhaps not as low as our estimate (13,000 t). 900,000 t (Akiyama 1992b) seems an exaggeration. Total reported finfish feed production in China, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand in 1991/2 was around 500,000 t, whereas our estimates (for 1990)were 151,000 t and Akiyama's (also for 1990) more than 1,000,000 t.

Table 5. Comparison of reported commercial aquafeed production with estimates(t)
Freshwater fish
1990 estimate (1)12,56872,11257,1049,588151,372
1991/2 reported (2)400,000n.a.12,00045,840>457,840(5)
1990 estimate (4)900,00035,0007,00080,0001,022,000
Marine shrimp
1990 estimate (1)67,025136,74277,744128,593410,104
1990 estimate (4)250,00050,00035,000250,000585,000
1991/2 reported (2)300,00060,35046,000336,160742,510
1991 estimate (3)250,00085,00045,000350,000730,000

(1) New and Csavas (1993)
(2) Wang (1993); Djunaidah (1993); Pascual (1993); Jantrarotai and Jantrarotai(1993)
(3) Akiyama (1992a)
(4) Akiyama (1992b)
(5) excludes Indonesia. for which no data available

In the case of marine shrimp feed production, the 1990 estimates of Akiyama (1992a; 1992b) ranged from 74-83% of reported production in China, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand for 1991/2. Our estimates for Indonesia (227%) and the Philippines (169%)were higher than reported production but lower in the case of Thailand (38%). As before, the biggest discrepancy is in the figures for the People's Republic of China, caused, we believe, by the inclusion of production data from small-scale, “farm-made” production units. Akiyama himself calls his figure of 250,000 t a “guesstimate” (Akiyama,1992a) and both he and Wang (1993) acknowledge the difficulty in collecting data or making estimates about such a large, complex, and diverse feedstuff sector as exists in China.

Overall, reported shrimp feed production for China, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand in 1991/2 was nearly 750,000 t, while estimates varied from 410,000 t for 1990 (New and Csavas, 1993) to 730,000 t for 1991 (Akiyama 1992a). We believe that, had the other data and estimates concerning China excluded small-scale production, all three figures would have coincided quite closely. Taiwan(Province of China), a significant aquafeed producer, did not participate in the meeting; thus, no comparisons between estimates and reported production there are made in this review.

The difficulties of accurately estimating aquafeed production have thus been neatly demonstrated. There are only scarce, unreliable and out-of-date statistics, and estimates based either on commercial feed manufacturers unwilling to disclose proprietary information or on theoretical considerations. There has also been a lack of clear definitions - a common fault: even the meaning of the word aquaculture is contentious (New and Crispoldi-Hotta 1992). Thus the report of the meeting (New et al. 1993)recognized that it had only made the first, faltering steps towards gathering information on this topic and recommended that further data should be collected and collated. Despite all these difficulties, we believe that the trends we predicted (New and Csavas 1993), namely that commercial aquafeed production in Asia-Pacific would increase by nearly 70% in the decade 1990-2000, were valid. Time will tell! We agree with Akiyama (1992b) that the largest aquafeed producing countries are expected to be China (including Taiwan, Province of China) and Indonesia. Thailand and the Philippines will remain important producers, and the Indian sub-continent will become so. Amongst the developed countries of the region, Japan will remain paramountly important as a commercial aquafeed producer, but not for marine shrimp.


Farm-made feed manufacture is particularly active in Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand for marine fish; in Bangladesh, India, Indonesia and Nepal for carps; in Thailand for catfishes and snakeheads; in Bangladesh, India and Vietnam for marine shrimp; and in Thailand for freshwater prawns (Table 6). In Bangladesh, India and Nepal, farm-made feeds predominate over commercial manufacture. Though the volume of production is unclear, for reasons discussed earlier, and Wang (1993) does not report which species are supplied by farm-made feeds, we believe that feeds made on-farm or in other very small production units also predominate in China, both for marine shrimp and for finfish. We estimate (New and Csavas 1993) that, in Asia-Pacific generally, over 70% of the production of carnivorous finfish, selected non-

Table 6. Use of farm-made grow-out aquafeeds in Asia in 1992 by species groups (1)
carps+  +(3)++(2)+(3)   +
tilapias++  ++(2)+(2)+ + 
silver barbs++    +(2)    
snakeheads +       ++
catfishes+  + +(2)   ++
ornamental        +  
others or unspecified ++ ++(2)+(2)   +
MARINE FISH           
seabass     + +++ 
groupers     + +++ 
snappers        +  
marine shrimp+  +     ++
freshwater prawns   + +(2)+(2)  ++
crabs     + +  +
unspecified  +        

(1) farm-made aquafeeds may also be used for species other than those recorded in the country papers summarized
(2) experimental use, generally on government/research farms
(3) only India and Nepal attempted to quantify the amount of farm-made fish feeds produced (for carps), which were> 165,000 t and 4,000 t, respectively

carnivorous finfish (common carp, tilapias and milkfish) and crustaceans is not produced by the use of commercial feeds. A significant, but unknown, proportion of that 70% is produced through the use of farm-made aquafeeds. Added to that is the production of other finfish, such as Indian and Chinese carps in India and Nepal, as reported by Nandeesha (1993) and Pantha (1993), as well as in China, partially through the application of farm-made feeds. Farm-made feeds are clearly very important in Asia but leave much room for improvement. As noted in the official report of the meeting (New et al. 1993) most of the semiintensive farming systems rely on the use of farm-made feeds, as do some intensive systems (e.g. for snakehead, catfish, groupers and seabass). Farm-made feeds are common for ornamental fish in Singapore (Chou 1993).

The manufacture of farm-made feeds facilitate the use of less conventional ingredients which cannot be utilized by commercial feed manufacturers or are not in sufficient or reliable supply. Farm-made feeds, in utilizing such ingredients, thus have an added environmental value. Farm-made feeds fill a seperate niche than commercial feeds, which are particularly appropriate for intensive aquaculture. Therefore farm-made feeds are not a source of competition for feedstuff manufacturers. Indeed, farmers who become economically successful through the use of farm-made feeds often graduate to commercial feeds and are thus potential customers of feedstuff manufacturers.

As one would expect, a very wide range of ingredients are used in farm-made feeds in the countries surveyed (Tables 2 and 3). The one ingredient which is ubiquitous is rice bran. In fish feeds, fish meal, trash fish and fish processing wastes are the commonest marine proteins used. Only in Singapore were crustacean ingredients (ground dried shrimp) mentioned and only for ornamental fish feeds. Conversely, several marine proteins are used in crustacean feeds-krill, shrimp meal, shrimp shell meal, squid meal, clam meat and mussel meat, for example. Animal viscera of various types are used both in fish and crustacean feeds to a limited extent. Their most obvious use is in snakehead feeds in Thailand.

Many plant proteins are used in fish and crustacean feeds, especially in India, but also in Bangladesh, China and Thailand. Soybean cake or meal is a common ingredient. The use of cereals and cereal byproducts is normal in all formulations; the type depends on local availability. Apart from natural binders, e.g. fish flesh, wheat starch, and corn gluten, only one paper (Boonyaratpalin and New 1993) mentions the use of binders, in marine shrimp feeds in Thailand. Many countries use vitamin and mineral premixes in farm-made aquafeeds but these are rarely designed for the species to which they are fed.

The farm-made feeds given as examples in the country papers range from single ingredients (mainly trash fish), and simple mixtures (usually of rice bran and an oil cake) to quite complex formulated feeds, especially for crustacea and in some countries, notably Thailand. Farm-made feeds are also fed in a wide range of forms - powders, slurries, doughballs, moist pellets, and sun-dried or machine-dried pellets. Feeding strategies, with and without fertilization, are also presented by some authors but they are too diverse to review satisfactorily here.

The general impression is that there is a great deal of scope for improvement in the selection of ingredients, in formulation, in processing techniques, in storage (of ingredients and finished feeds) and, not least, in the feeding of farm-made feeds which could be encouraged. This is reflected in the recommendations of the meeting (New et al. 1993). While machinery for farm-made feed processing is specially designed and available in some countries, such as China, Japan, Singapore, and Taiwan (Province of China), or has been adapted from equipment designed for other use, such as butchers' mincers and second-hand car engines (Thailand and Vietnam) it is reported unaffordable or unavailable in other countries such as Bangladesh. Sometimes hand-powered mincers are used for extrusion; some examples of cooking ingredientsor complete feeds to improve digestibility and water stability were also described (e.g. Cambodia). However, most farm-made aquafeeds appear to be fed in an uncooked form.

Only for India (more than 165,000t for carps) and Nepal (4,000t, also for carps) did the authors (Nandeesha 1993; Pantha 1993) attempt to quantify the production of farm-made feeds. However, muchof the 700,000 t of commercial aquafeed production in China reported by Wang (1993) would fall into our definition of farm-made aquafeeds. In our other paper (New and Csavas 1993) we estimated that almost 2 million t of Asian finfish and crustacean aquaculture production in 1990 was achieved without the use of commercially available aquafeeds, a proportion of it by farm-made aquafeeds. This estimate excluded non-carnivorous fish, except common carp, milkfish and tilapias. It is clear that farm-made feeds are also being used for other non-carnivorous species, such as Indian and Chinese carps. Looking at these various, but limited, estimates it may not be too wild to speculate that more than 1 million t of farm-made aquafeeds - some simple, some complex - are annually in use in Asia. Carrying this speculation just one (dangerous) step further, about one third of Asian finfish and crustacean production may be partially achieved through the application of all types of farm-made feeds, from single ingredients through simple mixtures to complex formulated diets. Farm-made feed manufacture and use is therefore not a topic to be ignored by those involved in aquaculture development and research. Donors please note!


All 11 countries, except Cambodia, are reported to have on-going research and development activities in fish and shrimp nutrition, both in the university and government sectors (Table 7). 37 governmental research stations and 35 universities involved in finfish or crustacean nutritional research, and the addresses and topics researched in many of them, are recorded in the country papers. However, little work is done on farm-made feeds, most research and development being of primary benefit to commercial feedstuff manufacturers. Thailand is one exception, where a pioneering UNDP/FAO project targetted farmers making their own feeds. Several of the farm-made aquafeed formulae mentioned by Jantrarotai and Jantrarotai (1993) and Boonyaratpalin and New (1993) have been modified as a result of the work of that project.

Table 7. Characteristics of aquafeed research, development and control in Asia in 1992
MAJOR R & D CENTRES           
aquafeed specific--?-+--+-+-
general feedstuffs+-?++?++++?
finished feedsYes?NoNoNoNo?NoNoNo?

(1) except chemical-like substances

(2) duty free import if farm is export-oriented; if not, 25% duty applied

(3) 13% tax applied

(4) fish meal and soybean quotas

(5) only vitamins and amino acids currently imported


Specific regulations concerning aquafeed manufacture and sale appear to exist only in Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand, although this topic was not covered in the case of China (Wang 1993). Aquafeed production is, however, controlled by general feedstuff regulations in most countries (Table 7). Only Cambodia is known not to have feedstuff regulations, since there is no reported feedstuff production (Nuov and Nandeesha 1993). It was not reported (Luu 1993) whether Vietnam has general feedstuff regulations; the total animal feedstuff industry there is still small (less than 25,000 t/yr). Where good general feedstuff regulations exist those should normally suffice for commercial aquafeeds also, since they should cover not only analytical characteristics but control the use of drugs (in particular withdrawal time before marketing the farmed product). Special feedstuff regulations for aquafeeds, such as those for the Philippines and Thailand, while sensitive to the issues raised by controls exerted by importing countries on the quality of farmed shrimp, may be over-zealous.


The value of utilizing aquafeeds, already accepted in ASEAN countries and in China, is becoming better known in India where a very significant growth in production is expected, particularly for shrimp culture. Trash fish availability is expected to become a major constraint in Cambodia (Nuov and Nandeesha 1993), where carnivorous and herbivorous species are expected to increase in aquaculture importance. Cambodia regards research and development on on-farm aquafeed manufacture and use to be a priority area, while Vietnam expects aquafeed demand to double every year in this decade. Demand for aquafeeds in Bangladesh is very low and not yet conducive to commercial production; farm-made feeds are thus likely to retain and increase their importance.

Hopefully, the results of research (in Asia and elsewhere) into the nutritional requirements of aquacultured species in semi-intensive culture, in the presence of natural feeds, will lead to improvements in feeding management, with consequential financial benefits. While many grow-out feeds are available, locally-made feeds for the younger developmental stages do not exist in some countries (e.g. China, Indonesia).

Fish meal is imported by most countries in the region, including China, Indonesia, and the Philippines, or the higher quality batches made locally are exported (India) leaving only poor quality batches available for local use. Though a fish meal producer, Thailand also imports high quality fish meal for use in shrimp feeds. China finds the need for foreign exchange to purchase fish meal excessive. Indonesia has not optimally exploited its fisheries bycatch and also has to import fish meal. Competition for fish meal for other animal feedstuff manufacture, and global demand for this commodity, may become a problem for intensive aquaculture, though efforts are being intensified to limit the essentiality of fish meal in aquaculture diets.

Zaher and Mazid (1993), Nandeesha (1993) and Pantha (1993) expected farm-made feed manufacture for carps in Bangladesh, India and Nepal to remain critically important. This will probably also be true in China. Feeds for intensive marine shrimp culture will remain the domain of the commercial feed manufacturers, though scope exists for farm-made feeds for semi-intensive culture, particularly in Bangladesh and India. Djunaidah (1993) sees Indonesian fish and shrimp farmers becoming increasingly dependent on commercial aquafeeds. Many freshwater prawn farmers in Thailand and Vietnam are expected to continue to use farm-made feeds and these may become accepted in other countries where freshwater prawn farming is expected to increase, such as India, Indonesia and the Philippines. Pascual (1993) predicts a shift in importance from commercial shrimp feed to finfish feed production in the Philippines and expects more farms involved in semi-intensive aquaculture to use farm-made feeds than do so now. Utama (1993) sees a bright future for the local feed milling industry in Malaysia as (intensive) aquaculture expands, although almost all marine shrimp feeds are currently imported. Pantha (1993) is confident that existing local animal feed manufacturers will be able to absorb any future demand for commercial aquafeeds in Nepal. Pascual (1993) expects imported aquafeeds to lose ground to local manufacture in the Philippines and feed costs to be reduced through the use of more locally available ingredients, including tuna fish meal. Shrimp feeds in the Philippines are currently considerably more expensive than in the other countries reviewed (Table 8).

Table 8. Average unit cost of aquafeeds in Asia in 1992 (US$/kg)
Marine shrimp           
grower   1.20   1.14   
Marine shrimp           
larval        97.3  
nursery1.14  ) (   1.471.241.28 
starter # 11.02  ) (   1.371.141.28 
starter # 21.02  )0.22- (   1.12 
grower1.02  )0.96 (1.34 
grower (supplementary)-  ) (   1.17-- 
finisher1.02  ) ( 
Freshwater prawns           
starter #1         0.72 
starter #2         0.68 
grower         0.64 
finisher         0.56 
nursery0.64     0.23    
grower0.38  0.130.26 0.17  0.40 
fry         1.44 
nursery0.64        0.72 
grower0.38        0.64 
finisher         0.56 
starter       0.46 0.60 
grower    0.26  0.43 0.56 
finisher       0.41 0.52 
starter       0.51   
grower       0.47   
finisher       0.46   
16-20% crude protein          0.26
21-25% crude protein          0.30
26-30% crude protein          0.35
31-35% crude protein          0.43
36-40% crude protein          0.55
grower (moist)         0.21 
grower (dry)         0.30 
grower (moist)         0.25 
nursery0.13        0.48 
Unspecified f/w fish           
grower  0.29        
Freshwater prawns           
grower         0.48 

Chou (1993) predicts that Singaporean feed companies, while retaining their offices and mills in Singapore as technical resource centres, will expand operations into other countries in the region. Seabass grow-out feeds and shrimp larval diets are expected to be major features. Farm-made feeds, either trash fish or compounded, will remain important for marine fish culture in the region until reliable and economical commercial feeds become available. Somsueb (1993) sees current farm-made feeds as environmentally unsound (thus highlighting the need for research to be directed towards improvements in the formulation and manufacture of such feeds). She also predicts that increasing commercial aquafeed production in Thailand will result in the enlargement of production capacity in existing mills rather than new entrants into the industry. This may also be true in the commercial aquafeed sector of other countries in the region.

The future of farm-made aquafeeds would seem to have a future as varied as the eleven countries on which papers were presented and the views of the authors concerned. There certainly will be national differences but our own belief is that farm-made feeds will continue to have major impact regionally and may became more important as the trend towards more environmentally acceptable, semi-intensive aquaculture develops.


The FAO/AADCP Regional Expert Consultation on Farm-Made Aquafeeds highlighted, for the first time, the importance of farm-made feeds in Asia-Pacific. Such feeds are also being utilized and have further potential in other regions, for example in Africa. It is hoped that the proceedings of the meeting (New etal.1993) will help to persuade donors and research workers that more attention should be paid to this topic. Public sector funding should assist small-scale farmers rather than feed manufacturers. More work needs to be done on supplemental, rather than “complete” feeds, and on other means of increasing production through less intensive aquaculture. Semi-intensive aquaculture is becoming increasingly more environmentally acceptable than intensive aquaculture; its feed needs therefore must be addressed. There are signs that at least some feedstuff manufacturers are aware of this trend, as reflected in the marketing of feeds designed for less intensive systems of production (Pascual 1993) and which result in less nutrients released into the environment.

While there are many potential benefits from improvements in the formulation, manufacture and use of farm-made aquafeeds these cannot be forced on farmers. Development must be based on working with farmers to improve existing practices and there is a need for simple instructional materials including local-language booklets, videos, etc. The use of farm-made feeds is accepted by farmers in some countries but almost unknown in others; scope for TCDC therefore exists.

Detailed recommendations were drawn up during the meeting and are recorded in the proceedings (New et al. 1993). Amongst the more important were recommendations that the proceedings should be used to alert governments, international aid agencies and potential donors to the importance of farm-made aquafeeds to small-scale aquaculture and the need for support for feed development to place more emphasis on this area. Simple and cheap methods of increasing the nutritional value of locally available ingredients need to be developed, as well as the availability or adaptation of cheap processing machinery encouraged. Improved methods of processing and storing farm-made aquafeeds are needed. Feed advisers, when formulating farm-made aquafeeds, should not mimic commercial feed specifications but address the specific needs of the farms concerned, and the role of natural food organisms. Locally available ingredients should be used and the use of vitamin premixes, binders and other expensive ingredients minimized, where possible. The participants in the consultation also recognized that the potential for improved profitability in small-scale aquaculture was greater through improvements in feeding strategy than in attempting to perfect dietary composition and recommended further work on methods of feed presentation, biomass assessment, reduction of feed wastage and ingredient quality assessment.


Akiyama, D.M. 1992a. “Guesstimated” world production of shrimp feed. World Shrimp Farming: 17.11.37.

Akiyama, D.M. 1992b. Future considerations for the aquaculture feed industry, p. 5-9. In D.M. Akiyama and R.K.H. Tan (eds.) Proceedings of the Aquaculture Feeds Processing and Nutrition Workshop, Thailand and Indonesia, 19-25 September 1991. American Soybean Association, Singapore.

Boonyaratpalin, M. and M.B.New. 1993. On-farm feed preparation and feeding strategies for marine shrimp and freshwater prawns, p. 120-134. In M.B.New, A.G.J.Tacon and I. Csavas (eds.) Farm-made aquafeeds. Proceedings of the FAO/AADCP Regional Expert Consultation on Farm-Made Aquafeeds, 14-18 December 1992, Bangkok, Thailand.

Chou, R. 1993. Aquafeeds and feeding strategies in Singapore, p.354-364. In M.B.New, A.G.J. Tacon and I. Csavas (eds.) Farm-made aquafeeds. Proceedings of the FAO/AADCP Regional Expert Consultation on Farm-Made Aquafeeds, 14-18 December 1992, Bangkok, Thailand.

Djunaidah, I.S. 1993. Aquafeeds and feeding strategies in Indonesia, p. 255-281. In M.B. New, A.G.J. Tacon and I. Csavas (eds.) Farm-made aquafeeds. Proceedings of the FAO/ AADCP Regional Expert Consultation on Farm-Made Aquafeeds, 14-18 December 1992, Bangkok, Thailand.

Jantrarotai, W.and P. Jantrarotai. 1993. On-farm preparation and feed strategies for catfish and snakehead, p.101-119. In M.B.New, A.G.J. Tacon and I. Csavas(eds.) Farm-made aquafeeds. Proceedings of the FAO/AADCP Regional Expert Consultation on Farm-Made Aquafeeds, 14-18 December 1992, Bangkok, Thailand.

Luu,L.T. 1993. Aquafeeds and feeding strategies in Vietnam, p. 386-396. In M.B. New, A.G.J. Tacon and I. Csavas (eds.) Farm-made aquafeeds. Proceedings of the FAO/AADCP Regional Expert Consultation on Farm-Made Aquafeeds, 14-18 December 1992, Bangkok, Thailand.

Nandeesha, M.C. 1993. Aquafeeds and feeding strategies in India, p. 213-254. In M.B.New, A.G.J.Tacon and I. Csavas(eds.)Farm-made aquafeeds. Proceedings of the FAO/ AADCP Regional Expert Consultation on Farm-Made Aquafeeds, 14-18 December 1992, Bangkok, Thailand.

New, M.B. and A. Crispoldi-Hotta, 1992. Problem in the application of the FAO definition of aquaculture. FAO Aquaculture Newsletter (FAN) 1:5-8.

New, M.B. and I. Csavas. 1993. Aquafeeds in Asia-a regional overview, p.1-23. In M.B.New, A.G.J.Tacon and I. Csavas (eds.) Farm-made aquafeeds. Proceedings of the FAO/ AADCP Regional Expert Consultation on Farm-Made Aquafeeds, 14-18 December 1992, Bangkok, Thailand.

New, M.B., A.G.J. Tacon and I. Csavas (eds.) 1993. Farm-made aquafeeds. Proceedings of the FAO/AADCP Regional Expert Consultation on Farm-Made Aquafeeds, 14-18 December 1992,Bangkok, Thailand, 434p.

Nuov, S. and M.C.Nandeesha. 1993. Aquafeeds and feeding strategies in Cambodia, p.181-200. In M.B.New, A.G.J. Tacon and I. Csavas (eds.) Farm-made aquafeeds. Proceedings of the FAO/AADCP Regional Expert Consultation on Farm-Made Aquafeeds, 14-18 December 1992, Bangkok, Thailand.

Pantha, M.B. 1993. Aquafeeds and feeding strategies in Nepal, p.297-316.In M.B.New, A.G.J. Tacon and I.Csavas (eds.) Farm-made aquafeeds. Proceedings of the FAO/AADCP Regional Expert Consultation on Farm-Made Aquafeeds, 14-18 December 1992, Bangkok, Thailand.

Pascual, F.P. 1993. Aquafeeds and feeding strategiens in the Philippines, p.317-353. In M.B. New, A.G.J. Tacon and I.Csavas(eds.) Farm-made aquafeeds. Proceedings of the FAO/AADCP Regional Expert Consultation on Farm-Made Aquafeeds, 14-18 December 1992, Bangkok, Thailand.

Somsueb, P.1993. Aquafeeds and feeding strategies in Thailand, p.365-385. In M.B.New, A.G.J. Tacon and I. Csavas (eds.) Farm-made aquafeeds. Proceedings of the FAO/ AADCP Regional Expert Consultation on Farm-Made Aquafeeds, 14-18 December 1992, Bangkok, Thailand.

Utama, C.M. 1993. Aquafeeds and feeding strategies in Malaysia, p.282-296. In M.B.New, A.G.J. Tacon and I. Csavas(eds.) Farm-made aquafeeds. Proceedings of the FAO/ AADCP Regional Expert Consultation on Farm-Made Aquafeeds,14-18 December 1992, Bangkok, Thailand.

Wang, P. 1993. Aquafeeds and feeding strategies in China, p.201-212. In M.B.New, A.G.J. Tacon and I. Csavas(eds.) Farm-made aquafeeds. Proceedings of the FAO/AADCP Regional Expert Consultation on Farm-Made Aquafeeds, 14-18 December 1992, Bangkok, Thailand.

Zaher, M. and M.A.Mazid. 1993. Aquafeeds and feeding strategies in Bangladesh, p.161-180. In M.B.New,A.G.J. Tacon and I. Csavas(eds.) Farm-made aquafeeds. Proceedings of the FAO/AADCP Regional Expert Consultation on Farm-Made Aquafeeds, 14-18 December 1992, Bangkok, Thailand.

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