Groundbreaking ceremonies were held in late May at a new feed mill in China’s Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei economic zone that is expected to begin producing aquaculture feed by mid-2020. The project, operating under a joint venture between global trading house Louis Dreyfus Company (LDC) and Guangdong HAID Group CO. Ltd, was formed under a partnership agreement signed in December 2018.
The mill is expected to produce high-end feeds for the nation’s growing aquaculture market and will feature fermented soybean meal. The mill’s annual feed output capacity is expected to total 300,000 tonnes. Aquaculture represents an efficient and sustainable source of protein in China, according to LDC’s James Zhou, head of LDC’s North Asia Region. Zhou noted that demand is growing; particularly, demand for healthy meat alternatives is on the rise in China.
Beyond the growing consumer preferences, China’s pork industry has been ravished in the past ten-plus months by the outbreak of African Swine Fever that has decimated the world’s largest pork herd, with some people saying the impact will reach as much as 20 to 30 percent of the nation’s pig population. The viral disease, which is fatal to pigs but harmless when consumed by humans, is highly contagious and attempts at controlling it have been the focus of Chinese and international resources.
Fermented soybean meal has been the focus of many studies recently as the ingredient has become a more popular alternative to fishmeal. Sustainability has been one of the factors driving the popularity growth of fermented soybean meal, along with economic factors such as price. For a nation like China, whose economy has grown more reliant on domestically produced vegetable proteins, the development of fermented soybean meal in aquaculture may prove to bolster demand for soybean meal while the country looks to recover from the ongoing African swine fever epidemic.