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Dutch company opens new aquafeed production plant in East Africa

June 28, 2023  By Bob Atwiine

Dutch Ambassador to Uganda, Karin Boven, laying a foundation brick for the construction of the plant in Buikwe district, Eastern Uganda as Bon Tjeenk Willink, the Royal De Heus Uganda managing director, and other officials look on. (Photo: Bob Atwiine)

Fish farmers in Uganda and East Africa as a region at large may now have greater access to affordable aquaculture feed with the opening of a new production plant by a Dutch animal feed manufacturer, Royal De Heus.

De Heus brings a combination of global experience and expertise together with a background in Dutch agricultural innovation. Production is set to begin by mid-2024 at its new Plant in Njeru-Jinja, Eastern Uganda.

De Heus, the parent company of Koudijs, is a family-owned Dutch company established in 1911, currently run and managed by the 4th generation. The company has over 100 factories in Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America, and is ranked among the top 10 global animal feed companies.

Bon Tjeenk Willink, general manager De Heus Uganda, says the plant will be producing 50,000 metric tons of fish feeds per annum for East African market and hopes to reduce on import bill of aqua feeds in the country and the region.

“De Heus will build on the Koudijs reputation for consistent high-quality feed. Soon, with local feed production, the business case for fish farmers will improve significantly and we are confident more people will start and grow fish farms,” said Bon Tjeenk Willink.

Aquaculture is still very young in Africa and access to feeds is one of its greatest impediments so far. The situation is worsened by the supply strain due to the Russia-Ukraine war which has affected feed imports to Africa by reducing supply on top of high feed import costs. As a result, many African fish farmers have closed business while those still standing are struggling to provide fish meal.

The industry has shown promising growth in recent years, but needs affordable, reliable and quality feeds to further develop.

However, Tjeenk notes that the plant seeks to solve this problem of fish feed import dependency by sourcing its raw materials locally such as maize, cassava, soybeans and others as much as possible.

“With the locally produced feeds that De Heus will produce to the fish farming industry, the industry will shoot high with farmers accessing the feeds at lower costs than the initial importing of feeds,” Tjeenk explained.

Dutch ambassador to Uganda, Karin Boven, also emphasized that the Netherlands community in Uganda is always ready to give out support so by investing in commercial farming to ensure productivity and improved standards of living.
Experts say the plant will be a positive impulse for aquaculture in Uganda and surrounding countries since it will produce feed with a shorter and flexible supply chain.

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