East African aquaculture boosted by Nutreco aquafeed production deal

Fishmeal produced in a Trouw Nutrition plant in East Africa.

East Africa’s drive to achieve self-sufficiency in fish feed production received a major boost after Dutch producer of animal nutrition, aquafeed, and processed meat products Nutreco N.V. signed a partnership deal with Unga Group Plc. – the largest feed milling operator in the region – for the manufacture of aquafeed.

Nutreco and Unga have agreed to form two joint ventures, which are yet to be named. One joint venture will be in Kenya under Unga Farm Care East Africa Ltd., where fish feed will be produced at the Nairobi-based Unga fish feed plant for distribution in the East African market, and marketed under the Skretting & Fugo brands.

The other joint venture is to be set up in Uganda under Unga Millers Uganda Ltd. to produce complete animal feed development in Uganda. Both Unga Farm Care East Africa Ltd. and Unga Millers Uganda Ltd. are subsidiaries of Nairobi, Kenya-headquartered Unga Group Plc.

“Together, Nutreco and Unga Group will tap into each other’s extensive expertise to continue meeting the growing demand for high quality protein,” Nutreco CEO Rob Koremans said.

The proposed partnership will have to be approved by market regulators in Kenya and Uganda before the two joint ventures, which will be managed by Nutreco, launch in the market.

Meanwhile, Unga Group, which has been trading with Nutreco-owned Trouw Nutrition and Skretting for more than 25 years, is transferring its current flour production in Uganda to a new state-of-the-art milling facility in in Kampala, Uganda, for the manufacture of complete animal feed and concentrates, to be sold under a range of Trouw Nutrition & Unga brands.

East Africa’s population has been increasing rapidly and is expected to double from the current 170 million people to approximately 340 million people by 2050. That will in turn increase demand for seafood, a large share of which is sourced from aquaculture ventures, Nutrecosaid in a press release.

“With the increase in population, the demand for high-quality protein from the aquaculture and agriculture sectors will rise accordingly,” Nutreco said.

Unga CEO Nick Hutchinson said the two companies already have a well-established relationship.

“Nutreco and Unga have worked together as customer and supplier for many years and we are trusted partners to one another,” Unga CEO Nick Hutchinson said.

Hutchinson said the new partnership will enable Unga and Nutreco to “advance our offerings to our customers as we aim to supply high-quality feed supported by world-class technical know-how to our aquaculture and agriculture livestock customers.”

The envisaged boost in aquafeed production under the Nutreco and Unga Group Plc. partnership coincides with the launch of a EUR 10 million (USD 11.8 million) “True Fish” aquaculture farming promotion project in East Africa by Uganda-based Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization, a specialized institution of the East Africa Community.

The project attempts to “address or remove impediments to growth in aquaculture faced by investors, for instance, lack of technical skilled operators, lack of investment finance and business planning, and incomplete networks.”

The Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization (LVFO), a specialized institution of the East African Community (EAC), says East Africa’s population has steadily risen from 23.5 million in 1954, when Nile perch was introduced in Lake Victoria, to nearly 170 million people.

“Therefore, the capture fisheries of Nile perch and tilapia are no longer able to satisfy the ever-increasing demand for fish in the region,” LVFO Executive Secretary Shigalla Mahongo said in a release.

The undertaking is financed by European Union Commission under the 11th European Development Fund Regional Indicative Program.  

Photo courtesy of Unga Group Plc.


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