New feed mill for Nigerian farmers
NIGERIAN fish farmers will have better access to formulated feeds with a new feed plant, built by Singapore based Olam International and opened in September.
Olam said it is supplying a wide range of competitively priced and specially formulated, fully floating freshwater fish feeds for more than 15,000 local farmers in Nigeria.
Located in Kwara State, the new fish feed facility will boost feed supply to help meet rising demand in Nigeria for fish, which is currently around two million tonnes per year.
Olam’s two fish feed brands - Blue Crown (standard range) and Aqualis (premium range) - are tailored to the needs of the African catfish sector, but the company is encouraging the diversification of Nigeria’s aquaculture industry beyond catfish.
This includes supporting small to medium and large scale farms in breeding and farming other tropical fishes and marine varieties.
To drive improvements in fingerling quality through better broodstock management, prevention of in-breeding and improving growth potential, Olam’s R&D facility is being set up in partnership with Nanyang Technological University of Singapore.
Future fish consumption in Nigeria faces supply challenges from overfishing, water pollution and global warming. Production from natural habitats is expected to stagnate or even decrease.
Fish farming is therefore essential to meet the gap and reduce the need for imports, now between 700,000 to 800,000 tonnes annually, resulting in a foreign exchange outflow in excess of US$1.0 billion.
One of the barriers to increasing aquaculture production is readily available, affordable and good quality floating fish feed, which accounts for more than 70 per cent of the local farmers’ production costs.
The Kwara mill has an initial capacity of 75,000 tonnes of fish feed per annum that can be scaled up.
Furthermore, Olam’s qualified aqua technicians will train farmers on best practices in fish farming, and it has created internships for around 100 veterinary, aquaculture and agronomy graduates who will receive hands-on learning opportunities at the company’s state-of-the-art facilities over a two-year period.