Tilapia represents one of aquaculture’s greatest success stories of recent times; transitioning from small-scale, rural farming into one of the world’s most productive and internationally traded fish, thereby providing a nutritious and inexpensive protein to consumers in many markets. Indeed, it is estimated that the global tilapia harvest has now reached a level of around 6 million tonnes, which is considerably more than the annual production of salmonids and shrimp.
Today, more tilapia is produced in Asia than in the species’ native Africa, and its production has grown at a significant rate in many regions around the world. However, it is widely recognised that the potential exists to increase production dramatically. To facilitate this growth, bring greater market credibility and improve margins, the tilapia sector has put strong emphasis on advancing its production systems, with great strides made on establishing best-practice.
In order to further stimulate this progress, Skretting organised its first-ever Skretting Tilapia Forum. Held 26 February – 1 March 2018 in Egypt, this international business conference brought together many of the world’s leading stakeholders from the tilapia industry to share invaluable information, insight and opinion. Skretting’s top 50 tilapia farming customers from around the world were invited to join leading authorities from areas such as genetics, farming, health, raw materials, feed, nutrition, processing and retail.
Attendance at the conference, which began in Cairo before moving south to Aswan, was strictly by invitation only.
We brought these companies and experts together for the first time; partly to enable important networking opportunities, but also to share technical and informative presentations from across the value chainArjen Roem, Marketing Director, Skretting Africa
“We brought these companies and experts together for the first time; partly to enable important networking opportunities, but also to share technical and informative presentations from across the value chain,” explained Arjen Roem, Marketing Director, Skretting Africa.
He continued, “As one of the world’s leading tilapia producing countries, Egypt provided the ideal setting to show the aquaculture sector and the broader supply chain that as well as salmon and shrimp, Skretting is also leading the way when it comes to collaboratively progressing tilapia farming on a global scale.”
In addition to looking at the market developments in recent years, discussions at the forum focused on the challenges and opportunities facing the tilapia sector today and in the future. For example, with soya bean being a key ingredient in tilapia feeds, there were sessions on the situation and outlook for raw materials, as well as for the application of novel feed ingredients. Sustainability and the direction that tilapia production needs to take to ensure it continues to deliver a responsible aquaculture product were another important focus area, while Carrefour shared valuable insight from a leading international retailer’s perspective.
The programme also contained sessions on the value that Skretting is bringing to tilapia farming, in which company representatives delivered presentations on the four pillars of Skretting; namely R&D and innovative products, feed-to-food safety and quality (Nutrace), and models and services (AquaSim), as well as on the sustainability commitments delivered through the Nuterra programme.
Dedicated tilapia feed plants
Skretting also arranged two fact-finding excursions – a visit to the WorldFish Centre, and the Skretting Egypt fish feed plant.
As the global leader in tilapia feeds, Skretting has long held the ambition to support the advancement of the sector, and maintains that the best way to achieve this aim is by ensuring a consistent supply of high-quality fish feed products. As part of this commitment, Skretting has opened dedicated tilapia feed plants in key markets, and like all of its other plants around the world, these facilities share the philosophy to make best use of the company’s world-class R&D; have local validation of its feeds; and to also invest heavily in providing technical support to the industry.
“We have been increasingly engaged in tilapia research in recent years, with the Skretting Aquaculture Research Centre (ARC) dedicating resources to progress tilapia feed, nutrition and technology R&D. This ongoing work has already led to a starter feed specifically for tilapia, with health, grower and other nutritional concepts also in the pipeline. These latest developments were also shared with our guests in Egypt,” said Roem.