ASA’s WISHH, USDA & Cambodian Government Launch CAST Strategic Partnership for Aquaculture

ST. LOUIS (Jan 31, 2019) – American Soybean Association ASA/WISHH leaders joined Cambodian and U.S. government officials and partners today in Phnom Penh to launch a strategic partnership that will grow trade and development of Cambodia’s important aquaculture sector. Cambodia’s Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Veng Sakhon and Chargé d’affaires of the US Embassy in Cambodia Michael Newbill officiated at the launch ceremony of ASA/WISHH’s U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)-funded Commercialization of Aquaculture for Sustainable Trade (CAST) – Cambodia project.

CAST will accelerate production of high-demand fish species for the Cambodian market and develop a lasting aquaculture industry. The five-year CAST project is a prime example of WISHH’s enterprise-driven development approach. A key aspect of the project strengthens local production of high-quality feed and fish. CAST makes it possible for Cambodia’s private sector and universities to work closely with U.S. soybean growers and businesses as well as academic and non-governmental organizations.

His Excellency Veng Sakhon described how the project will strengthen value chain linkages from hatcheries to producers, buyers and distributors. Newbill, who is the U.S. Embassy’s ranking representative in Cambodia, said, “The CAST project is unique because it uses an abundant resource—soy—and utilizes it as a feedstock for Cambodia’s growing aquaculture industry. This project means increased sales of U.S. soybeans to Cambodia. The result will be increased production of locally raised high-quality protein source that Cambodians will enjoy eating and greater ties between our two countries.

“The CAST project’s goal of increasing aquaculture production is in line with the Ministry’s policies and will improve Cambodian livelihoods.” Newbill said. “Importantly, it will also reduce pressure on wild capture, which currently accounts for about 76 percent of total fishery production.”

WISHH’s CAST project benefits from the strategic expertise of key partners, including the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC), Kansas State University, Auburn University, World Vision, and local universities in Cambodia. Importantly, Cambodia’s local private-sector feed mills and hatcheries and the Cambodian Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries are all collaborating with WISHH to implement CAST.

“CAST is another exciting WISHH opportunity for U.S. soybean growers to work in Southeast Asia thanks to USDA funding,” said WISHH Chairman Daryl Cates, an Illinois soybean grower. “Cambodia’s small-and medium-sized entrepreneurs are well-positioned to drive commercial growth in the aquaculture sector – both to produce a consistent supply of quality fish and increase market demand for quality assured inputs, like fish feed, and related aquaculture support services.”
In addition to Chairman Cates, WISHH Program Committee Members at the event were: Craig Converse (SD), Scott Gaffner (Ill.), and Dawn Scheier (SD). Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council Board Members Kyle Durham, Tim Gottman, Bob Littleton, and Director of Business Development Tony Stafford. North Dakota Soybean Council Director Daniel Mock is also in Cambodia along with WISHH Executive Director Liz Hare; Asia Division Director Alan Poock, and, CAST Chief of Party Jim Hershey.

The WISHH delegation will tour Cambodia’s Center of Excellence on Sustainable Agricultural Intensification and Nutrition of Royal University of Agriculture, a fish hatchery, animal feed store and more. Cambodia’s GDP has increased by more than 7 percent per year since 2011, growing the demand for animal and aquaculture-sourced protein. CAST’s anticipated local economic impact exceeds $300 million over the life of the project, and, Cambodia’s aquaculture industry demand for soybean protein is projected to reach 100,000 metric tons per year by 2030.

While in Southeast Asia, the WISHH trade team will also travel to Myanmar where WISHH is leading USDA-funded activities to grow the soy food market, and the U.S. Soybean Export Council is active in the animal feed and aquaculture sectors.

ASA/WISHH connects trade and development. As a trailblazer for trade, WISHH grows markets for U.S. soy farmers, and at the same time, improves lives and economic opportunities in developing countries. WISHH works with international companies and organizations that purchase U.S. soy. These buyers invest thousands of their own dollars to research and promote soy-based foods and feeds made with U.S. soy in emerging markets. Over the last five years, WISHH leveraged soybean farmer checkoff investments by a ratio of more than 6-1.

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The American Soybean Association (ASA) represents U.S. soybean farmers on domestic and international policy issues important to the soybean industry. ASA has 26 affiliated state associations representing 30 soybean producing states and more than 300,000 soybean farmers.
Contact: Karen Coble Edwards at karen@kcegroup.com

LaunchPhotoGroupJan312019PhnomPenhSeated in front row: Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Veng Sakhon and U.S. Chargé d’affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Cambodia Michael Newbill officiated at the launch ceremony of ASA/WISHH’s USDA-funded Commercialization of Aquaculture for Sustainable Trade (CAST) – Cambodia project. Back row: Representatives of the Cambodian government, USDA, State Department, WISHH and CAST partner organizations.

ILLaunchPhotoNewbillUSEmbassyIllinois native Michael Newbill, who is the ranking representative of the U.S. Embassy in Cambodia and Economic Officer Lauren Higgins joined Illinois Soybean Association Directors Daryl Cates and Scott Gaffner at the launch ceremony of ASA/WISHH’s USDA-funded Commercialization of Aquaculture for Sustainable Trade (CAST) – Cambodia project. Shown from left after the January 31 program in Phnom Penh are: Gaffner, Newbill, Cates and Higgins.

LaunchPhotoWISHHCommitteeASA/WISHH leadership join U.S. Chargé d’affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Cambodia Michael Newbill at the launch ceremony of ASA/WISHH’s USDA-funded Commercialization of Aquaculture for Sustainable Trade (CAST) – Cambodia project. From left: Scott Gaffner (Ill.); WISHH Executive Director Liz Hare; CAST Chief of Party Jim Hershey; Newbill; Craig Converse (SD); Daryl Cates (Ill.); and Dawn Scheier (SD).

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