By: Marco Linné Unzueta*
On September 7-8, 2022, the Conference of Agricultural Cooperators of the Americas 2022, an iconic event of the Americas region, brought together key industry decision-makers to discuss a variety of future trends and strategies with internationally recognized speakers, subject matter experts, leading U.S. producers and industry specialists.
On September 7 and 8, 2022, the United States Soybean Export Council (USSEC), in cooperation with the United Stated Grain Council (USGC), the wheat (U.S. Wheat Associates) and Rice Producers (USA Rice), organized the Conference of Agricultural Cooperators of the Americas An emblematic event of the Americas region that brought together the industry’s key decision makers in a two-day gathering, featured internationally recognized speakers, experts, leading U.S. producers and industry specialists to discuss a variety of current trends.
In this context, according to FAO (2016), population growth will reach 9.5 billion people by 2050, resulting in the need for an estimated additional 40 million tons of shellfish by 2030, almost double our current production for human consumption. Against this backdrop, FAO asks, “How can this deficit be overcome sustainably?”
“To answer this question, we can assume that food derived from aquaculture will develop in such a way that “… in the next decade, the total production of capture fisheries and aquaculture will exceed that of beef, pork and poultry” (FAO, 2016).”
This production is of high quality from a nutritional perspective and will in turn translate into healthier diets, provided the measures meet Good Production Practice (GPP) and Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) standards.
These measures will enable the carbon footprint to be reduced through sustainability measures. In light of the above, and in the context of working on strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, it is critical that current and future diets promote “green” diets, most of which are based on plant sources.
This will require the development of strategies that promote growth, programming and standardization of production, without neglecting the increase of profitability and favoring the sustainable use of resources.
It will be reflected in measures that allow the reduction of emissions, the adoption of fully efficient technologies and work on the production of fish and shellfish, with alternative sources for the production of “friendly” food with the environment.
According to Doug Winter (USSEC Chairman), one of the products that should provide the greatest incentive for aquaculture food production is SOY, a large, reliable food source on a global scale.
Therefore, the USSEC seeks to add value through product differentiation that allows livestock and aquaculture activities to be granted sustainable production structures that are considered a common value from the point of view of consumption with ecological awareness and sustainability standards in soybean production.
On the other hand, Jim Sutter (CEO USSEC) who represents soybean production in the US, considers that the Win-Win philosophy seeks to support Latin America (LATAM) with high-quality soy products that help to face the great challenges, of agricultural and aquaculture activities, in the face of climate change.
Based on what is defined by FAO in the 2030 agenda, with emphasis on CO2 emissions and sustainability, producing specifically in areas defined for agriculture, not deforesting, and having the lower carbon footprints.
This will provide confidence in consumers through education that guide decisions to have quality food and quantity.
In addition to the above, actions will be established or strengthened through the Office Global Programs of USDA/Foreign Agricultural Science, actions highlighted by William Bomershein, office director. These are strategies for the production and commercialization of soybeans, seeking a global environment of benefit to the agricultural sector, establishing predictable rules, and prioritizing climate change and sustainability in food generation.
“On the other hand, there are exchange programs that seek to conduct market research in different regions, mainly in emerging countries, through Sciences and Technology Programs on policy issues for market development in low-income countries.”
As part of the considerations defined at the meeting, María Mayorga (MS, Ph.D Regional Technical Specialist in Poultry, USSEC Americas) emphasizes the increase in livestock production, which is why it is necessary to increase the production of balanced feed, considering that soybean meal from the United States has achieved excellent results in terms of greater efficiency nutritional since it provides most of the amino acids required by organisms in culture.
For her part, May Craze, Founder of Spheric Research, mentions that R+D+i must be a continuous strategy in aquaculture development, highlighting, in particular, the experience of Recirculating Systems for Aquaculture (RAS), coupled with intensive management and production levels, for which the response was the development of the In-Pond Raceway system (IPA or IPRS), which in Spanish we can translate into something like “Rapid Flow Channels within the Lagoon”, a system that, for multiple reasons such as sustainability issues, efficiency in water-space consumption as well as the growing demand for fish from the markets, was taken up in recent years with the impetus of the USSEC and evaluated in commercial environments with excellent results.
Finally, Jairo Amézquita, Manager of Regional Aquaculture Projects, USSEC Americas, mentioned that to achieve the goals established during the meeting, “collaboration, resilient capacity, investment capital” should be considered and that LATAM has the tools and investments necessary for innovation in aquaculture, with the support of the production of quality inputs through the long-term production of American soybeans, under standards of sustainable practices that allow the development of sustainable strategies in the immediate term, including robotics, nanotechnology, biofortification, vertical crops, among others.