Status of aquaculture feed and feed ingredient production and utilisation in Myanmar

The fisheries sector plays a very important role in economy of Myanmar and also in the daily diet of the people. The fisheries sector is third in foreign exchange earnings after the agriculture and forestry sectors. Aquaculture represents 51% of total fisheries production.

Freshwater aquaculture in Myanmar is dominated by rohu, but other carps, tilapia and giant freshwater prawn are also cultured. Pond-cultured rohu (Labeo rohita) is the major freshwater commodity for export but local consumers give higher preference to common carp (Cyprinus carpio). Freshwater prawn is also co-cultured with other freshwater species. Tilapia are mainly cultured in cages but also in ponds.

In terms of coastal and marine aquaculture, traditional and extensive marine shrimp culture is dominant. There are a few semi-intensive shrimp farms producing both P. monodon and P. vannamei. Marine finfish aquaculture takes place in net cages in nearshore areas. Stocked fish are generally collected from wild. At present sea-bass seed can be successfully produced through hatchery technique. Soft-shell mud crab farming is growing with increasing local and foreign market demand. Crabs are collected from wild and a large quantity of trash fish is used as feed input.

Freshwater pond areas amounted to over 90,000 hectares and shrimp ponds also over 90,000 hectares. At present around 25% of farmers are using commercial feeds from factory mills while the remaining 75% still use locally available rice bran only or rice bran and oil cakes.

Most freshwater fin-fish farms utilize rice bran, ground-nut cake, cotton seed cakes. However, in tilapia and pangasius catfish culture, formulated feed pellets that are manufactured by private feed meal companies are used. The feed ingredients commonly used are broken rice bran, ground-nut cake, soybean cake and fish meal with vitamin mix; however, the actual feed formula and feed conversion ratios are not published.

Soft shell mud crab and marine fish farming are thoroughly dependent on trash fish. Initially, feed pellets for marine shrimp and freshwater prawn were imported from Thailand but later on local private feed mill companies were established to supply local needs. However, as there are few semi intensive or intensive shrimp farms and little demand for shrimp feed producers eventually closed due to difficulty to finance the operation cost of factories.

Ground-nut cake and soybean cakes are used as alternative protein sources to fishmeal. Both are locally available and have a high level of crude protein. There is no practice of feeding farm made pellets; however, a few large commercial farm owners are operating their own feed mills to produce feed pellets for their own farms while these feed mills are under experimental operation. In Myanmar, among more than twenty feed mills, there are eleven producing fish feed as sinking pellets and three producing floating pellets. Production capacity of local feed mills are in the range of 100-250 tonnes per day.

Farms often use perforated feeding bags suspended in ponds as a feeding method for mash-type feed while pellets are broadcast and floating pellets contained in feeding rings.

Most farmers prepare fed daily for fish, mixing two to three items of various ingredients such as rice bran, peanut oil cake, sesame cake, cotton seed cake, rape seed cake, soybean meal, mustard oil cake and wheat bran in their own formulation. Basically rice bran and oil cake are major feed components with a usual feeding rate of around 4 % of the total fish pond biomass.

Feed mills also use the above ingredients, in addition to dry fish powder and fish meal in a complete feed formulation, adding vitamins, minerals, amino acids and fish oil.

Of the commonly used feed ingredients rice bran, wheat bran, peanut oil cake, sesame oil cake, cotton seed cake, mustard oil cake are locally available and soy bean meal, rape seed meal, corn gluten meal, feather meal, vitamins, minerals, amino acids and fish oil are imported. One feed mill company from Vietnam and one from Thailand are importing their finished floating fish feed into Myanmar, and have been introducing to the farmers 2016.

Farmers using traditional feeding method of mixing their ingredients are typically producing feeds with around 19- 20 % protein and commercial feed mills are producing sinking and floating pellets with 25 – 28 % protein for carps and 35-39 % protein floating pellet for snake head and catfish. Most shrimp farms are using importing pellet feed.

One feed mill is producing and supplying fermented fish feed, utilising many ingredients including molasses and fermented with beneficial microbes (probiotics) such as Lactobacillus, Bacillus subtilis and Sacchromyces cerevicae. The fermentation process improves the feed nutritional quality, facilitates easy digestion and also reduces anti-nutritional factors and fibre in plant-based ingredients. Fermentation also increase protein, lipid content and eliminates phytic acid and tannin. The product content is 26 % protein, 6% lipid and 4% fibre.

There are a variety of plant protein sources that can be used in feed formulations for aquaculture. There is a need to establish research scale laboratories to formulate and produce pellet feed that are suitable and economical for the targeted species. Normally, by-catch from fishing vessels is utilised for local consumption and for fish meal production. However, in the long term, too much by-catch may cause stock depletion in fishery resources as these are playing important role in food chain.

There is huge potential for further development of aquaculture in Myanmar. The DoF is conducting research on culture of native species such as butter fish (Silondia spp.) and other economically viable species. The culture of hilsa and seabass in freshwater is underway at an experimental scale.


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Regional Consultation on Responsible Production and Use of Feed and Feed Ingredients for Sustainable Growth of Aquaculture in Asia-Pacific

A regional consultation on aquaculture feed production and use in Asia-Pacific was held from 7-9 March 2017. The consultation reviewed the current situation of aquaculture feed production and use, sourcing of ingredients, policy and research needs. This collection contains audio recordings of the technical presentations made by experts, international organisations, the private sector and governments in the region. The report of the consultation is in press and will be made available for download in due course.