The American Soybean Association’s (ASA) World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH) works to enhance global protein by connecting trade and development. WISHH’s latest endeavor, the Commercialization of Aquaculture for Sustainable Trade (CAST) – Cambodia project, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food for Progress Program, unites strategic key partners to grow U.S. soy trade and development of Cambodia’s aquaculture sector.

Laying the Foundation for U.S. Soy Trade

Liz Hare, WISHH executive director, says that WISHH’s work is specific to long-term emerging markets, laying the foundation for U.S. soy trade.

“Cambodia is a focus because we know that as populations and economics grow, people begin to demand more food,” said Hare. “Cambodia’s gross domestic product (GDP) has increased by more than seven percent per year since 2011, growing demand for animal and aquaculture-sourced protein. As the population of Cambodia begins to demand increased amounts of protein, WISHH can provide the technical assistance required through this project to build a lasting aquaculture value chain creating a sustainable market for U.S. soybeans for the future. Cambodia’s aquaculture industry demand for soy protein is projected to reach 100,000 metric tons per year by 2030.”

The five-year project is expected to accelerate production of high-demand fish species for the Cambodia market and help establish a lasting aquaculture industry. CAST is designed to produce a consistent supply of quality fish and increase market demand for quality assured inputs, like soy protein containing fish feed and related aquaculture support services.

“The provision of technical assistance and training throughout the value chain will build local capacity ensuring sustained knowledge transfer,” said Hare.

Within the next few months, the team involved with the CAST project will begin a baseline study, which will provide data to measure growth and improvement in the aquaculture sector. WISHH is working closely with key partners including the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC), Kansas State University, Auburn University, World Vision, local universities in Cambodia, private sector partners in country and the Cambodian Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to plan for upcoming project activities.

“CAST is another exciting WISHH opportunity for U.S. soybean growers to work in Southeast Asia thanks to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) funding,” said WISHH Chairman Daryl Cates, an Illinois soybean grower who recently visited Cambodia on a trade mission. “Cambodia’s small-and medium-sized entrepreneurs are well-positioned to drive commercial growth in the aquaculture sector. I met a feedmiller who buys U.S. soybeans and meal and is building the first aquafeed plant in Cambodia. He might be the first, but he won’t be the last.”