The government is planning to push the use of palm oil waste for processing as fish feed as part of efforts to reduce imports of fish meals, an official said.
“Just think about it, we are the largest palm kernel meal producer, that means our supply is very abundant,” Slamet Soebijakto, Director General of Farmed Fishery at the Maritime and Fishery Ministry was quoted as saying in a report of the Antara news agency on March 21, 2018.
“Therefore, the utilization of vegetable protein material is an alternative to reduce the portion of the use of fish meal,” he added.
Data from the ministry showed, however, that 94 percent of the palm kernel meal, a byproduct of palm oil making, is currently being exported. Data from the ministry have also shown that Indonesia’s palm kernel meal production stands at about 4.2 million tons a year.
Soebijakto said that the real problem was not a shortage of the palm kernel meal, but rather the current absence of cooperation or links between palm oil processing mills and fish need producers.
“The problem is not that the raw material is rare, but more that there is yet no optimal connectivity between the source of raw material to the business unit that produces the fish feed,” he said.
Soebijakto also said that a partnership between palm oil mills and fish feed cooperative could overcome this problem and he also called on heads of regions to facilitate cooperation between palm oil mills and cooperatives producing fish feed with regards to the supply of the palm kernel meal.
He said that with the protein content of palm kernel meal, fish feed producers could substitute it to the protein from costlier fish meal that is mostly used so far. Indonesia still imports fish meal to offset local shortage.
Researchers have shown that palm kernel meal, that account for about 45-46 percent of the kernel volume, contains about 15 percent of rough protein.
“The utilization of palm oil waste can reduce the use of protein from the fish meal so that the price of the fish feed will be cheaper,” Soebjakto said, adding that therefore, the use of vegetable protein was a good alternative to reduce the use of fish meal.
The palm oil waste is usually fermented using yeast to turn it into fish feed.
The Antara report also quoted the head of the National Independent Feed Stock Association, Syafruddin, as saying that palm kernel oil would account for between eight and ten percent of the fish feed. He said that palm kernel oil provided additional fat content of up to 10 percent and this could improve the growth of the farmed fish.