Devi Seafoods, one of the largest seafood exporters in Andhra Pradesh, India, prepare to open their new shrimp feed mill plant.
The new feed plant will have a capacity of 50,000 tonnes per year, and will be located in Visakhapatnam. It is expected to open in March 2016.
The company had two reasons in entering feed production. First with the Indian government planning to invest $450 million in the next five years in the promotion of aquaculture across coastal areas in Andhra Pradesh and other states, Devi Seafoods believe it will benefit from this with increase demand for both aquaculture and aquaculture feeds.
The majority of the company's frozen shrimp production is sold to the US foodservice industry, marketed by its subsidiary Devi Seafoods Inc, in Texas.
Speaking on the project Managing Director of Devi Seafoods, Potru Brahmanandam, said "This is an era of elevated consumer awareness. When they buy food, people look to see that products come from an environmentally sustainable source and are produced in socially acceptable conditions, in a facility following good manufacturing processes."
"Buyers expect you to have BAP four-star certification. We are already using certified feed, but we wanted our own," he said.
The Indian feed market is currently dominated by Charoen Pokphand Foods and Thai Union Group’s joint venture with Avanti Feeds. Avanti has BAP certification for its feed, allowing packers that own or source from BAP-certified farms to get four-star BAP certification.
Devi Seafoods hope that with its own feed plant it can encourage more of its supplier farmers to apply for BAP certification, which would increase the quality and safety of their shrimp.
The 50,000 tonne feed mill will allow Devi Seafoods full control over the feed that goes to its farms and the farms it works closely with.
"We plan just to control feed through our own chain first. This is a facility to support our loyal supplier farms with quality feed input," said Brahmanandam.
A further benefit of full control is lowering the cost of feed, which accounts for more than 60% of production costs.
Devi Seafoods is one of the leading exporters of Indian shrimp, with two state-of-the-art shrimp processing plants in Andhra Pradesh, which together process around 11,000 metric tons of finished frozen shrimp in ready-to-cook and ready-to-eat forms a year.
The company was the first to begin value-added sales to the USA, in the form of individually quick frozen (IQF) shrimp for Darden and Red Lobster and also sells to Sysco.