ASA/WISHH and U.S. Soybean Farmers Cast a Wide Net for U.S. Soy

Feb 23, 2022

Cambodia’s Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries His Excellency Veng Sakhon looks on as ASA/WISHH’s CAST project partners demonstrate the usage of soy-based fish feeds.

American soybean farmers understand that diverse options and destinations for U.S. soy are essential to market growth. From human foods to animal feed, the World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH) casts a wide net that identifies and builds new markets for U.S. soybean growers. WISHH’s work in aquaculture tells that story well.

WISHH celebrated World Fisheries Day on Nov. 21, 2021. The day highlights the critical role fisheries play in human health. During that event, WISHH also highlighted the important role U.S. soy plays in global aquaculture.

“Our checkoff dollars support what WISHH does best—expanding the global use of soy and creating long-term demand in developing and emerging markets in Asia, Africa and Central America,” says WISHH Chairman Gerry Hayden, a Kentucky soybean grower and ASA director. “Boosting aquaculture is an exciting way WISHH can increase demand for soy through fish feeds.”

Global food security is central to WISHH’s strategic plan, particularly the availability and affordability of protein to improve human health in developing and emerging markets. Engagement in the global conversation around affordable, accessible protein is a win-win for U.S. soybean growers interested in creating new markets for U.S. soy as well as for the countries in which WISHH works. WISHH’s Commercialization of Aquaculture for Sustainable Trade (CAST) in Cambodia Project offers technical support to improve aquaculture farming practices as well as increase fish production and survival rates. The growing industry increases demand for soy as feed, sustains livelihoods and empowers local fish farmers and other supply chain members to deliver affordable protein.

Association development is integral to CAST, a U.S. Department of Agriculture-funded Food for Progress Project. WISHH partners with businesses and entrepreneurs to form and grow lasting associations, such as the Cambodian Aquaculturist Association (CAA). CAA recently celebrated its one-year anniversary with more than 400 members, ranging from fish farmers and distributors to feed millers and other industry partners.

“More than 400 members is a major milestone, especially during a pandemic,” says Hayden “The CAA is off to a great start.”

The work doesn’t stop there. According to the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), fish consumption in Africa and Asia projects to steadily increase over the next 10 years, particularly as populations strain food systems. In Africa, WISHH leverages resources from soybean growers and the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service to lead technical training and promote the benefits of U.S. soy in fish feed. For example, 15 companies from multiple countries attended WISHH’s Ghana Aquaculture Training Project in October 2021. WISHH’s trainings offer an opportunity to grow relationships with partners, strengthen the industry and explore possible expansion in the region.

These examples are a small but important part of WISHH’s role in exploring new markets. As industries like global aquaculture continue to grow, WISHH is leveraging the support of checkoff dollars alongside resources from USDA to build new markets for U.S. soy while improving global access to affordable protein.