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Soy-Based Fish Feeds Spawn Success on Two Continents
Pakistani fish farmers and feed millers are all catching new economic opportunities along with U.S. soybean growers. Launched in 2011, the FEEDing Pakistan project forged public-private partnerships that have taken root in Pakistan and led to local engagement that ensures the continuation of this work after the U.S. Department of Agriculture-funded project ends. The result is sustained business growth in the feed and aquaculture sector in Pakistan that has found the benefits of floating fish feed made with U.S. soy.
The American Soybean Association’s World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH) Program implemented the project to reach a long line of partners, including fish farmers, recent university graduates, government officials, fish traders and more. FEEDing Pakistan improved economic opportunities in Pakistan by introducing U.S. soybeans as an important source of fish feed, which has generated long-term investments in Pakistan’s feed and aquaculture sector.
WISHH’s FEEDing Pakistan is an example of how U.S. support of international agricultural development is good for the United States and the countries that want to trade with the United States. Thanks to USDA funding and additional support from the U.S. Agency for International Development, WISHH shared knowledge and developed Pakistan’s aquaculture and feed industries that are economic drivers as well as have an important role in Pakistan’s efforts to reduce stunting and other forms of malnutrition.
Pakistan has expansive marine and inland resources, which support a wide variety of fish of nutritional significance and economic value, and possess an immense developmental potential. Its fisheries sector is a significant source of foreign exchange earnings and potentially important source of protein for humans in a country that committed to the Scaling Up Nutrition global movement in 2013.
Seeing was believing for hundreds of Pakistani farmers who witnessed FEEDing Pakistan tilapia average 600 grams per fish—double the weight of traditional Pakistan fish harvests. The success achieved through this project informed thousands of stakeholders who received WISHH’s messages about the value of soy-based floating fish feed.
FEEDing Pakistan’s demonstrations and training led two Pakistani companies to purchase and install extruders to make soy-based floating fish feed while numerous individuals are building fish ponds. The private-sector tilapia hatchery, opened with WISHH technical support, produced more than 2.5 million tilapia fry last year–up from zero in 2011. Just as important, multiple trainees have earned government leadership roles and private-sector jobs based on their WISHH-supported expertise in Pakistan’s growing aquaculture industry.
Pakistani media featured FEEDing Pakistan’s success and increased awareness of U.S. soy’s value. Pakistan imported 166,368 metric tons of whole soybeans from the U.S. in 2016 compared to zero in 2014.
USDA’s funding of FEEDing Pakistan is timely and complements trade opportunities with an important nation that is the fifth largest population in the world. FEEDing Pakistan is a win for America and Pakistan.