THE QUEST for low-cost and eco-friendly aquafeeds received a boost with the recent US$60,000 upgrade of the feed mill of the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC) in Tigbauan, Iloilo.
SEAFDEC acquired a 5-layer dryer and an extruder for its feed mill to further increase its capacity by 300 kilograms per hour or 2,400 kilograms per 8-hour workday. The extruder is used to produce both sinking and floating aquafeeds.
“The recent upgrade boosted the production rate by almost 400 percent. With the additional extruder, production will not be impeded by the periodic downtime for maintenance or unexpected breakdowns,” said Joseph Biñas, head of the Nutrition and Feed Development Section of SEAFDEC’s Aquaculture Department (AQD).
Before the upgrade, the feed mill can only produce 500 kilograms per day due to the limited capacity of the ovens which is the main equipment used for drying feeds.
The feed mill produces diets for abalone, grouper, mangrove crab, milkfish, pompano, sea bass, shrimp, siganid, and tilapia as well as feed ingredients that are utilized for research projects of SEAFDEC and non-SEAFDEC researchers and graduate students. It also accepts orders from private hatcheries that needs maintenance feeds for marine fish breeders and larvae which are not readily available commercially.
Cheaper and more eco-friendly
With feeds accounting for over 50 percent of the production cost in aquaculture, SEAFDEC is mandated to formulate and test feeds that use cheaper alternative ingredients that depend less on wild-sourced fish.
Conventional feeds rely on fish meal, a fish-based and protein-rich ingredient that is controversial for having been sourced from fish in the oceans to feed the fish in farms.
SEAFDEC’s fish nutrition experts have been striving to find more sustainable alternative sources of protein from aquatic and terrestrial plants as well as animal by-products.
“Our fish nutrition experts are currently developing low-cost feeds for various aquaculture species that could greatly benefit the fish farmers in lowering their production cost,” said Dan Baliao, chief of SEAFDEC/AQD.
“With the improvement of the production capacity of our feed mill, we are most likely to achieve our goal,” he added. / RH LEDESMA
(ARTICLE UPDATED: The cost of the upgrade was revised to include the cost of deploying the equipment)