Efforts to transform fish silage into animal feed for rabbits, pigs, and chickens are showing positive signs as farmers report good results in their animals.
This was one of the main areas discussed when a team from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) toured the Bridgetown Fisheries Complex and Fisheries Division on Monday.
The team included FAO Director General, Dr Qu Dongyu; Deputy Director General Maria Semedo; FAO Sub-regional Coordinator Dr Renata Clarke, and the Sixth Global Leaders Group on Antimicrobial Resistance. They were joined by Minister of the Environment and National Beautification with responsibility for the Blue and Green Economy Adrian Forde; Permanent Secretary Sonia Foster, and Chief Fisheries Officer Dr Shelly-Ann Cox.
After the tour, the delegation met and discussed the state of the Fish Silage Pilot Project in Barbados. During that meeting, Minister Forde said the transformation of fish silage to animal feed formed part of the circular economy, and the sustainable development of fisherfolk.
Fish silage is a liquid product produced from the whole fish or parts. Acids, enzymes or bacteria are added, which, over time, change the mass from solids to liquids by breaking down the components. The fish waste is ground and mixed with molasses and a culture of microorganisms and then fermented for three days. The waste can be used to make fertiliser, as liquid feed for pigs, mixed with other components and pelletised to make a ration for rabbits and sheep.
The aim of the pilot project was to lay the foundation for the women of the Central Fish Processors Association (CFPA) to invest in the fish silage-based feed business. Service provider and head of Philip Lashley Associates Philip Lashley said studies from the pilot project showed that silage ration was just as good as the commercial products as it helped the animals to gain weight.
“The waste-to-feed programme offers the opportunity to reduce the cost of feed bills,” he stated.
Noting that efforts were underway to upscale the project to meet local demand, Mr Lashley suggested that a public/private sector approach be adopted to see its implementation. Farmer and radio personality Kirk Browne, who also tested the feed on his rabbits, shared similar sentiments. “I am optimistic about it,” he said, noting that the fish silage could be used as feed or fertiliser.
Other farmers and female entrepreneurs present also expressed the desire to expand the project as the cost of animal feed was “skyrocketing”. Meanwhile, Board member with the Barbados National Union of Fisherfolk Organisations and Secretary of the (CFPA) Sheena Griffith called for help in acquiring a new home to house equipment and to upgrade equipment to a commercial scale. “Right now, we need heavy duty equipment to handle capacity,” she stressed.
FAO’s Fishery and Aquaculture Officer and Secretary of the Western Central Atlantic Fishery Commission Dr Yvette Diei Ouadi explained that the fish silage initiative started three years ago and provided opportunities to foster a circular economy and promoted environmental sustainability. (BGIS)