Missouri Soy in Cambodia

By Karen Coble Edwards

U.S. soybean growers delivered four key soy protein messages to current and potential customers in Cambodia and Myanmar where protein demand is rapidly growing for aquaculture and livestock feeds, as well as human foods.

In addition to seeing the raceway system in action, David Lueck (center) participated in a briefing with the team in Cambodia, alongside Missouri Soybean director of bio- fuels and new uses Matt Amick (left).

Recently, the American Soybean Association’s World Initiative for Soy in Human Health’s (WISHH) Southeast Asia trade team also celebrated a milestone with a WISHH strategic partner by joining a ribbon cutting for Cambodia’s first in-pond raceway aquaculture system, an important innovation for the sustainable increase of fish production in the region.

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) funds supported the January 12-20 travel for the 13 soybean leaders to have face-to-face discussions with WISHH’s many contacts in the human food and livestock feed industries. U.S. Ambassador W. Patrick Murphy addressed the U.S. and Cambodian business leaders during WISHH’s 2020 U.S.-Cambodia Soy Trading Conference.

“We came to make personal connections with our current and future customers for U.S. soy. By visiting Cambodia and Myanmar, we hope we demonstrated how much we care about these emerging markets and our customers’ success using U.S. soy,” said WISHH Program Committee Chair Daryl Cates.

“First, we stressed that U.S. soy is high-quality protein. Second, we shared with these emerging market leaders that the United States is a reliable supplier of sustainable soy to meet their protein needs,” Cates said “Third, we emphasized that U.S. soy is delivered in containers, bags and really however they want it. Finally, we reinforced the message to Cambodia and Myanmar’s food and feed leaders that we will help them maximize the value of U.S. soy through WISHH’s multi-faceted technical assistance.”

The Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council (MSMC) supported WISHH technical assistance in the planning and construction of Cambodia’s first in-pond raceway aquaculture system.

The system allows for a channel with a continuous flow of water to grow fish at the Rathada Farms Hatchery. The family-owned business breeds tilapia and catfish. Rathada raises the fish through the “seed” and fry stages before selling fingerlings to fish producers in the region.

“Our Missouri farmers’ soybean checkoff dollars were vital to WISHH’s work with Rathada on the new raceway,” said David Lueck, a WISHH Program Committee member and a past MSMC chairman who served on its board for more than a decade.

“WISHH leveraged our investment by integrating Rathada’s strengthened fish-production capacity into WISHH’s USDA-funded Commercialization of Aquaculture for Sustainable Trade (CAST) – Cambodia project.”

The Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council supported WISHH technical assistance for both the planning and construction of the first in-pond raceway aquaculture system in Cambodia – an important relationship for growing soy demand.

CAST is a USDA Food for Progress project designed to develop a lasting aquaculture industry in Cambodia. Cambodia’s GDP has increased by more than 7 percent per year since 2011, growing the demand for animal and aquaculture-sourced protein. The country’s aquaculture industry demand for soybean protein is projected to reach 100,000 metric tons per year by 2030.

In addition to Cates and Lueck, the trade team included other WISHH Program Committee members, as well as representatives of six U.S. soybean exporting companies to directly share information about U.S. food grade soybeans and how U.S. soy is available in containers.

While in Southeast Asia, the WISHH trade team also traveled to Myanmar. WISHH is leading USDA-funded activities to grow Myanmar’s human food market, and the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) is active in the animal feed and aquaculture sectors.

Find the entire April issue of Missouri Soybean Farmer here.