Russia unfolds a plan to overcome the aquafeed crisis

26-09 | |
Photo: Canva
Photo: Canva

Russia plans to launch 9 large feed mills focused on aquafeed production in the next 5 years to boost the output in this segment by 220,000 tonnes, Russian Agricultural Minister Dmitry Patrushev said, speaking during a conference in Moscow.

Russia keeps struggling against an acute shortage of aquafeed for valuable species sparked by Western sanctions imposed after Russia invaded Ukraine. The lack of specialised feed reportedly has been hindering operations in several segments, including broodstock production. Patrushev said that Russia has to replace imports because several countries suspended aquafeed sales to Russian customers in 2022.

The issue is no longer pressing

To some extent, the problem of the lack of aquafeed has been mitigated in the past few months, and this issue is not as pressing as it used to be, according to Patrushev.

“Of course, it was complicated to reformat the work quickly, but in general, I think we managed to cope with the difficulties and made a leap forward together. Nevertheless, this experience has shown that it is necessary to localise our own production as soon as possible,” Patrushev said, not providing further details about where the Russian farmers source fish feed now.

A helping hand

To address this issue, the Russian government has approved a 20% subsidy of capital costs for feed mill construction and modernisation. This measure is scheduled to come into force on January 1, 2023. In addition, the government set the task for the Russian federal agency for fisheries and scientific organisations of the Russian Academy of Sciences to provide the industry with advanced feed recipes, Patrushev added.

Russian fish farmers have repeatedly complained about the domestic aquafeed’s poor quality, citing lower weight gains and higher mortality risks compared to those obtained from imported products.

Patrushev has not provided any information about the new feed mills.

First project in the pipeline

Currently, the construction of only one feed mill focused on aquafeed production has been announced publicly in the country. A private investor plans to launch a feed mill to produce 50,000 tonnes of feed for valuable fish species in the Karelia Republic, Vladimir Labinov, Deputy Prime Minister of the region, said.

Currently, the demand for fish feed in Karelia stands at 40,000 tonnes per year and is projected to rise to 50,000 tonnes per year in the future, he estimated. On the other hand, the actual production last year was close to 5,500 tonnes. Karelia is the largest Russian producer of Atlantic salmon. Local fish farmers used to rely on aquafeed imported from Scandinavia.

Labinov expressed hopes that the new feed mill would be launched in 2023.

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