Louis Dreyfus partners with Barramundi Asia to develop specialty aquafeed

Published on
March 26, 2020

Rotterdam, The Netherlands-based Louis Dreyfus, a trading firm involved in shipping, agriculture, food processing, and finance, will partner with Barramundi Asia and Temasek Lifesciences Laboratory to develop a premium aquafeed for barramundi, the companies announced 25 March.

Singapore-based Barramundi Asia currently operates farms in Singapore and Northern Australia, and is expanding into Brunei as it works to scale production up to 50,000 metric tons by 2030, CEO Andreas von Scholten told SeafoodSource in January.

“As a company that operates Singapore’s and Australia’s largest ocean farms, and considering our planned expansion into a 6,600-hectare site in Brunei, the strategic benefits of improving our feed conversion ratios and utilization of more environmentally friendly feed cannot be overstated,” von Scholten said of the Louis Dreyfus partnership. “This tripartite endeavor is a major win and a step forward for Barramundi aquaculture globally.”

Singapore-headquartered Temasek Lifesciences Laboratory (TLL), a nonprofit specializing in fish genomics and breeding programs, is a significant shareholder in Barramundi Asia. On 22 January, Barramundi Asia purchased Allegro Aqua, a Singapore-based start-up founded in 2018 by TLL scientists, in order to bolster its genomics and breeding programs. As Louis Dreyfus owned a 30 percent stake in Allegro Aqua, it became a shareholder in Barramundi Asia through the deal.

In November 2019, Louis Dreyfus and TLL sister company Temasek Lifesciences Accelerator (TLA) signed a memorandum of understanding “to support the commercialization of promising technologies for the advancement of agri-food innovation in [Asia and Oceania].

“In line with [the company’s] growth ambitions to pursue downstream diversification and food innovation through strategic partnerships, we are pleased to embark on this venture with Barramundi Asia and TLL, which builds upon our strong relationship with both partners,” Louis Dreyfus South and Southeast Asia Head Thomas Couteaudier said. “Leveraging [Louis Dreyfus’] commercial and logistics expertise, and presence across the global food, feed, and ingredients value chain, we look forward to contributing to the realization of innovative and sustainable solutions to help meet rapidly growing consumer demand for fish protein as a healthy meat alternative.”

The joint research program will involve developing and testing feed formulations for barramundi in oder to improve feed efficiency, strengthen immunity, and increase the use of sustainably produced and healthier ingredients. TLL will lead the research and development component of the program, with Barramundi Asia providing access to its aquaculture farms and nurseries for trials, and Louis Dreyfus providing funding for research and trials, according to the press release.

TLL and TLA CEO Peter Chia said the three companies are aligned in their positive outlook for barramundi as a premier aquaculture species.

“We hope to harness our collective knowledge in fish biology, behavior, and nutrition, to develop the next generation of precision fish feed that will address the twin goals of better feed conversion ratios and environmental sustainability, giving consumers a readily available and nutritious source of fish proteins,” Chia said. "We believe that through this partnership, we will be able to significantly enhance the economic equation of fish farming through better genetics, improved feed, logistics and optimized farming protocol to help pave the way for Barramundi to become the species of choice for the tropics.”

The partnership furthers Barramundi Asia’s goal of building a vertically integrated company capable of taking barramundi from egg to table.

“We’re really truly bringing to fruition the idea of becoming an end-to-end company,” von Scholten told SeafoodSource in January. “It’s because we all really believe in the future of barramundi as a species. Once it becomes more recognized globally, a lot of support companies will emerge, but as of now, there’s really a very limited number of companies specializing in barramundi, so we’ve had to take that on our own and do it ourselves. But the way we think it has to be done is the hard way, the right way, with very high-tech farming and sophisticated support efforts.”

Photo courtesy of Barramundi Asia

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