ALTERNATIVE FEED DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM
During the 2011 Tilapia Aquaculture in Haiti workshop (Haiti Aquaculture Opportunities Constraints and Action), it was decided among experts in the field that the number one problem with current aquaculture in Haiti is the price of the fish feed; a bag of food that costs $8 in the US would cost $22 after importing into Haiti. Due to this high price of feed, it is critical to develop alternative nutritionally complete tilapia feeds that can be produced in-country in order to support a truly sustainable aquaculture industry.
Our ongoing research focuses on the following aspects of the feed manufacturing process and how they can be realistically accomplished in Haiti:
Feed ingredients are selected based on their local abundance, expense, and nutritional profile. An emphasis is placed on using various plants and waste products that are not a main source of nutrition for the human population in Haiti.
Nutritional analysis is performed on promising ingredients and this information is used to carefully balance the nutritional components (protein, lipid, amino acids, etc.) of the feed so that it can meet all of the tilapia’s nutritional requirements.
Palatability is tested in the lab and we are currently experimenting with several practical techniques and ingredients to determine how to make the feed most attractive to the fish.
Antinutritional factors are present in many plant ingredients and can have adverse affects on health and growth. Research is being conducted on simple processing methods that may significantly reduce the levels of antinutritional factors which will increase the tilapia’s absorption of nutrients from a plant-based feed.
Feed production and delivery methods are being analyzed to establish the ones that will best allow for farmers to monitor their fish’s feed consumption even if they do not have access to expensive processing equipment.
Implications of this Research Program
Inadequate infrastructure represents a significant barrier to the supply of commercial aquaculture feed throughout much of the developing world and particularly in Haiti. Furthermore, the economic sustainability of production systems that rely solely on commercially available feed in such regions is questionable, as the capital “cushion” required to absorb periodic shocks in market prices is often inadequate or altogether non-existent. Thus, in all senses of the word, truly sustainable aquaculture in the developing world must rely on regionally available resources to secure long term economic viability.
Innovation in the realm of alternative feed development is the primary focus of SAI’s research arm, which directly supports our implementation projects that in turn provide feedback and guide the direction of ongoing investigations.
Our research is funded primarily through private donations from individuals and charitable organizations. For more information on how you can help further our mission by supporting our research please contact us or give directly.