Seawater-farmed tilapia

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On this article, the second in a two-part sequence, Ramon Kourie and Vuyani Somyo of Thapi AquaKulcha present how seawater-farmed Mozambique tilapia can present cheaper protein than broilers or different livestock.

Seawater-farmed tilapia
Mozambique tilapia supply a cheap method to produce inexpensive protein.
Photograph: Wikimedia Commons

It’s no secret that food-insecure households in South Africa are discovering it more and more tough to incorporate animal protein of their day by day diets, not least due to the COVID-19 pandemic and rising meals costs.

From roughly 2005/06, broiler chickens started beating marine-capture fish to change into the most cost effective animal protein supply within the nation (tinned pilchards are excluded from this comparability). That is regardless of the 50% to 100% value unfold between the large-scale producer prices on the base of the broiler rooster worth chain and grocery store retail costs for frozen dressed birds hovering between R45/g and R55/kg.

On the similar time, there seems to be alternatives for small- and medium-scale broiler producers, regardless of increased feed, abattoir and different enter prices, to retail on to shoppers, bypassing the formal worth chain.

Utilizing the small-scale producer value mannequin, Thapi AquaKulcha (Thapi) has estimated the ex-abattoir value of broiler birds to be between R29/ kg and R31/ kg reside birds. For comparability, Thapi used a determine of R30,22/ kg after added abattoir prices, transformed to an edible meat yield of 46,1%.

Beef, lamb and pork can’t compete with the value of broiler chickens. These animal
protein sources have been subsequently excluded from essentially the most applicable value comparability to ascertain the food-security worth proposition of the assorted animal protein sources delivered to an edible meat yield foundation. Comparisons have been subsequently made between broilers, hake, pilchards and marine tilapia.

It was discovered {that a} large-scale marine tilapia business may present shoppers within the rural Jap Cape and KwaZulu-Natal with inexpensive fish at R37,76/kg edible meat yield. That’s round half the price of Cape hake (R75,18/kg), lower than two-thirds of the price of tinned pilchards (R65,08/kg) and fewer than two-thirds of the price of broiler chickens (R65,56/ kg), all on an edible-meat-yield pricing foundation. Utilizing this comparability, marine tilapia thus affords unrivalled food-security potential.

Freshwater tilapia aquaculture
The present freshwater tilapia farming manufacturing philosophy, which relies upon using intensive pond farming, a recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) and full extruded aquatic feeds at a value of R14/kg for a 28% to 32% protein grower ration, places the farm gate break-even manufacturing value at R28/kg (greatest case) and R35/kg (worst case).

That is uncompetitive towards large-scale broiler producer prices, that are between R21/kg and R23/kg on the base of the worth chain, in keeping with the South African Poultry Affiliation. Hen can also be the popular meat selection nationally.

Clearly, when the farm gate break-even producer prices of farmed tilapia on a live-weight foundation are effectively above R20/kg, this meals supply affords little advantage as an inexpensive various meat protein for food-insecure households in South Africa.

The most important value drivers and challenges confronting South Africa’s fledgling tilapia farming sector are:

  • Excessive feed value at greater than R14/kg for 28% to 32% protein grower rations;
  • Suboptimal water temperatures for many of the 12 months because of the poor location
    of tilapia farms greater than 500m above sea stage and out of doors the hotter east coast and low-elevation inland websites;
  • Using inappropriate manufacturing know-how for low-cost and scalable manufacturing for intensive pond farming and RAS;
  • Lack of economies of scale and scope.

In distinction, large-scale farmed manufacturing of Mozambique tilapia (Oreochromis mossambicus) in seawater, utilizing biofloc know-how (BFT) and making use of 2021 prices and pricing, clearly represents, doubtlessly, the most cost effective animal-meat protein supply in South Africa.

Evaluating feed-use effectivity
How do BFT, RAS and cage- and intensive pond-grown tilapia evaluate with broiler rooster manufacturing metrics, by way of feed-use, nutrient restoration effectivity and feed value per unit of edible meat yield (calculated at R15/US$1)?

The desk reveals the effectivity of feed-use in BFT tilapia aquaculture in contrast with intensive pond farming and using an RAS in tilapia aquaculture versus broiler rooster farming. As might be seen, BFT tilapia manufacturing competes favourably with broiler rooster farming by way of feed-use effectivity, on each a live-weight and edible-meat yield foundation.

In distinction, neither tilapia tradition when utilizing intensive ponds reaching a mean of 7ha/12 months not RAS tilapia manufacturing know-how can compete by way of feed-use effectivity towards broiler rooster farming, given present pricing of ordinary extruded tilapia grower feeds at a value of R14/kg ex-factory in South Africa.

The issues of a suboptimal native local weather for productive and environment friendly tilapia tradition, excessive feed prices (extruded feed for tilapia prices of round R14/kg for a 28% to 32% grower ration), and lack of economies of scale all name for a extra decided, focused and complex response.

Thapi envisages large-scale, professionally managed, majority worker-co-owned intensification of the tilapia farming sector, emulating sure components of the extremely profitable broiler farming mannequin and tailored for native suboptimal weather conditions and using BFT, as key to the success of an environment friendly tilapia tradition sector in South Africa.

Extra particularly, Thapi’s imaginative and prescient for 2035 is manufacturing of 20 000t tilapia per cluster, providing the lowest-cost animal protein supply in South Africa at a farm gate break-even value as little as R15/ kg reside weight on the base of the worth chain.

This could be because of the advantages of specialisation and the economies of scale and
scope, and relies on long-run prices at right now’s enter costs earlier than onward gross sales to a processing plant.

In sum, a large-scale BFT-based marine tilapia business on the east coast of South Africa
can be the least-cost producer of tilapia within the nation, the least-cost supply of animal protein within the nation, and the least-cost producer of scalable portions of tilapia in Africa.
Equally, the product can be extremely aggressive internationally, with farm gate
break-even manufacturing prices of round US$1kg reside weight (see desk).

That is 18,4% to 25% decrease than break-even manufacturing prices of between US$1,22/ kg and US$1,32/ kg (R18,30/ kg and R19,80/ kg) in China, based mostly on Chinese language analysis.

Constructive pull
Due to its proposed measurement, Thapi AquaKulcha’s venture may create an equally vital demand for feedstock uncooked supplies. This might see between 15 000 and 30 000 farming households per cluster in rural Jap Cape and KwaZulu-Natal (based mostly on 20 000t of tilapia) receiving the chance to get pleasure from meals safety and generate an earnings.

Thapi anticipates 5 clusters, of as much as 150 000 farmer households and 100 000t, of fish manufacturing on the Jap Cape and KwaZulu-Natal shoreline. The venture requires farmers to plant feedstock crops for the marine tilapia business and in addition produce nutritious crops, equivalent to pulses and legumes, maize and sorghum for native/regional consumption and different markets.

The venture is designed to rescale developmental aims, utilizing new progress conduits to handle the challenges of rural poverty, unemployment and inequality on the one hand, and rural dietary safety and meals sovereignty on the opposite.

Thapi’s imaginative and prescient goals to handle the UN’s Sustainable Improvement Purpose No. 2 of ending starvation, reaching meals safety and enhancing diet, whereas selling sustainable agriculture and aquaculture. On the similar time, the venture would not directly and straight help the UN’s Sustainable Improvement Purpose No. 14, which targets wholesome oceans for meals safety, diet and resilient communities.

A counter to native unemployment
The benefits of the proposed Thapi AquaKulcha venture and its potential to mitigate family insecurity ought to be considered towards the backdrop of the socio-economic situations in rural Jap Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.

In these two areas, respectively, almost 60,6% and 50% of households have been depending on social grants in 2019 and the official unemployment charge was 47,9% and 29,6% over the interval October-December 2020, in keeping with Statistics South Africa.

E mail Ramon Kourie at [email protected].


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