Old fish farms use wheat to feed their fish.

New modern fish farms are being established in the country.

Russian south use only wheat to feed fish because of its low cost. Highly efficient granulated and extruded feed are used to a lesser extent due to this practice that was developed in Soviet times, “Roman Artemov said.

Expanding the raw material base A lack of a diversified raw material base is often cited as one of the main reasons constraining the Russian aquafeed indus- try development. Some producers keep adhering to a wheat- based diet, frequently grinding and mixing production ingre- dients right on the farms. This is especially common for old farms. However, in the coming years, Russian fish farmers are likely to get a better choice of raw materials. In the years ahead, Russian fishing companies target establishing fish processing plants with an overall capacity close to 1 million tonnes of fish per year. If those plans take effect, the Russian feed in- dustry will get an additional 150,000 tonnes of fish meat and 120,000 tonnes of fish oil per year. The Russian AgricultureMi- nistry expects these volumes to become the basis for the do- mestic fish industry growth in the next few years. “Establish- ing a fish feed industry will ensure cooperation between the fishing and aquaculture segments with the possibility of new vertically integrated holdings emerging,” the government said in the industry development programme. In the meantime, the first industrial production of insect pro- tein is expected to be launched in Russia in the next few years. In 2019, Russian company Limkorm Pet Food disclosed plans to establish the country’s first production complex to breed black soldier fly larvae (BSFL) for pet food production with an investment cost of Rub1.85bn (US$ 25 million). In 2021, the same investors declared plans to launch the second production company Biopro. Insect feed is reportedly planned to be used to produce fish feed, among other things.

32 ▶ ALL ABOUT FEED | Volume 29, No. 5/6, 2021

Valery Afanasyev, president of the Russian Union of Feed pro- ducers, claimed that given a shortage of animal protein in Russia, such projects are necessary, but it all comes down to the high cost of the final products. Afanasyev explained that, if the BSFL meal turns out to be very expensive, as it is now, there will not be strong demand. To become popular, it has to have a similar price to meat-and-bone meal. Establishing new production capacities is just the first step towards achieving import replacement. Government officials warned that fish farmers must be urged to switch to domestic feed, which might not be an easy task. “It is necessary to gain production experience and, of course, marketing as soon as possible, since it is difficult to persuade domestic fish farmers to abandon expensive but proven imported feed,” said Vasily Sokolov, deputy director of Rosrybolovstvo.

Sanctions spur plans In the meantime, local market participants warned that Rus- sian fish farmers should start looking for options of sourcing aquafeed on the domestic market since soon they may not have an alternative. In a meeting with EU foreign ministers in April of 2021, Ukraine’s Foreign Miniter Dmytro Kuleba said he had called for a tough new package of sanctions, including the expulsion of Russian banks from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT) network. The call to disconnect Russia from SWIFT seems to be becoming stronger these days. If this is approved, it may effectively bar the entry of European fish feed into the Russian market since sending payments for goods received would become virtually impossible. The rising threat of sanc- tions has given an additional import-replacement impetus to several segments of the Russian economy in 2021, and aquafeed may well be one of them.



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