Indonesia - After imported feed prices soared 25 percent in 2009, an expert has called on the government to build feed mills to help fish farmers survive.
Suhana, a marine biologist with the Bogor Institute of Agriculture (IPB), said feed prices had risen to Rp 256,000 ($27) per 50-kilogram sack, below the break-even level for farmers.
“If the price is more than Rp 200,000 per sack, fish farmers will lose,” Suhana said on Wednesday in Jakarta, adding that feed accounted for 80 percent of production costs.
Shrimp farmers are also complaining, with shrimp feed selling for Rp 10,000 a kilogram, about 15 percent higher than the price on the international market, Suhana said.
To cope with high feed prices, Suhana said the government should build local feed mills to bring down prices because about 40 percent of feed ingredients are imported, such as soybean flour.
“Growers in Riau built their own mills and produce the feed, which sells for Rp 100,000 per 50 kilogram sack,” Suhana said. “It’s certainly more affordable.”
The Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries on Tuesday proposed cutting import duty on feed ingredients. Syamsul Maarif, the ministry’s secretary general, said the tariff was burdening domestic fish and shrimp cultivators by making feed more expensive.
But Suhana said cutting the 5 percent import duty was not a solution because the price remained high and was vulnerable to currency fluctuations.