WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — With Central American feed millers producing approximately 300,000 tonnes of aquaculture feed annually, the U.S. Grains Council recently hosted three of the region’s major feed producers for a seminar on the use of distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) in aquaculture diets.

The seminars, made possible through funding provided by North Dakota Corn Utilization Council, were conducted in the hopes of encouraging higher inclusion rates of the product in the Central American market.

Currently the region’s aquaculture feed use is split evenly between shrimp and tilapia with Costa Rica and Honduras being the two biggest producers. Representatives from Conupra, Grupo Paf and Grupo Calesa participated in the council-hosted courses held at the Northern Crops Institute in Fargo, N.D., U.S. There they received an overview of the aquaculture industry and learned about the challenges and use of alternative feeds for cold and warm water species.

According to Kurt Shultz, USGC director in Latin America and the Caribbean Region, there is great potential for DDGS in Central America, especially if the companies represented increase their inclusion rates.

"Among the companies who attended the seminar, the average DDGS inclusion rate is 8 percent for tilapia and non-existent for shrimp," he said. "This amounts to roughly 12,000 tonnes of DDGS or about $1.9 million used annually for aquaculture feed."