Aqua feeds and feeding trends
by Dr B. Laxmappa, Fisheries Development Officer, Department of Fisheries, India
n aquaculture production India is the second largest country in the world after China. The terrestrial and aquatic animal farming sectors are rapidly expanding and intensifying in the country. Aquaculture, which counts for almost two thirds of fish production in India, has shown significant growth in the last two decades and has transformed itself into an industry contributing substantially to food production. A wide range of freshwater, brackish water and marine aquatic organisms are produced in India. The major groups are freshwater fish (carp, catfish, snakeheads, tilapia) and prawns (Macrobrachium sp.), penaeid shrimps (Penaeus monodon, Litopenaeus vannamei) crabs (Scylla sp.) and brackish water fishes (seabass, milkfish). Freshwater aquaculture production in India is about 4.2 million tonnes. Most of this production is carp, which account for about 90 percent of total freshwater production in India.
In India extensive fish culture is done in large freshwater bodies on natural food available without the application of external inputs. In semi-intensive and intensive fish production systems, supplementary feeding is provided in addition to the application of fertilisers to
improve natural productivity. Less expensive feed ingredients such as rice bran, wheat bran, corn fibre, corn meal, corn grains, broken rice, groundnut cake, cotton seed cake etc., are extensively used for feeding carp in freshwater aquaculture. Fishmeal and defatted oilseed cakes (soybean, mustard, and sesame) are also used when higher protein feeds are needed. Trash fish, poultry offal and other animal byproducts are used for carnivorous fish cultures in the country. In Indian aquaculture, use of industrially manufactured feeds started in the early 1990s when feeds were imported from Taiwan Province of China, Southeast Asia and the United States of America for shrimp production. Currently, India has more than sufficient capacity to produce adequate volumes of feed for freshwater prawn and marine shrimp farming. There is an adequate domestic feed ingredient resource base for most of the animal feed requirements of the aquaculture and animal production sectors (Table 1). Fortunately, India is one of the biggest exporters of soybean meal in the world and enjoys a competitive position as far as most aqua feed ingredients are concerned.
In India, large fish culture ponds are fertilised with poultry or cattle manure throughout the production cycle. Fertilisation is well 20 | INTERNATIONAL AQUAFEED | July-August 2015
managed and farmers routinely sample pond water to observe plankton production and add fertilisers when necessary. The fish are fed with de-oiled rice bran (90 percent) and groundnut or cotton oilseed cake (10 percent). The feedstuffs are blended with mineral mixtures and packed in plastic bags containing holes. These feedbags are suspended from ropes/poles in the culture ponds. Some farmers broadcast de-oiled rice bran (DORB) only in their culture ponds daily in the morning and evening. In Indian aquaculture de-oiled rice bran is the major ingredient of all fish feeds and is used either singly or in combination with other ingredients. In Andhra Pradesh, one or more of the following seven ingredients are mixed with rice bran to feed carp: rice polish, broken rice, groundnut cake, cottonseed cake, sunflower cake, meat meal and soybean meal. A recent survey showed that the majority of farmers use a blend of rice bran, groundnut oilseed cake and cotton oilseed cake. Catfish culture has recently expanded in the country. While India has a number of endemic catfish species including Clarias batrachus, Ompok pabda, Heteropneustes fossilis, Pangasius pangasius etc., the faster growing African catfish Clarias gariepinus and sutchi catfish Pangasius hypopthalmus, imported from Southeast Asia, have become the most widely farmed species in recent years. Pacu