USA- Global commodity trader Cargill is ramping up its focus on regenerative agriculture practices to produce raw materials for global aquaculture, according to its latest Aqua Nutrition Sustainability report. 

Cargill’s disclosure commitment started in 2009. The grain elevator company produces aquaculture feeds at 40 facilities with 19 of these factories, spread across 12 countries, specially dedicated to aquafeed production and are the focus of the report. 

The remaining 21 facilities are outside the scope of this report. They are primarily livestock feed or premix production sites, and their combined aquafeed output accounts for less than 5% of our total aquafeed production,” Cargill explained. 

According to Cargill, aquaculture’s carbon footprint mainly stems from the mix of raw materials in the feed. Last year, it teamed up with eight UK farms to pilot climate-friendly regenerative agriculture practices to achieve a 1,000-ton carbon reduction. 

Its goal for 2023 is to sign up more farmers and avoid over 10,000 tons of emissions.

Regenerative agriculture aims to restore the soil’s health and resilience, using techniques like low- or no-tilling, planting cover crops to prevent runoff and oxidation, crop diversity, and pollinator strips,” Cargill’s report read. 

As a result, the soil becomes a carbon sink instead of a source of emissions, reducing the carbon footprint of crops grown in it.

Cargill provided that its work to improve the sustainability of marine ingredients continued last year, with it buying certified fishmeal and oil as before. 

However, today there is an increased engagement in fishery improvement programs (FIPs) to develop more sustainable management and fishing practices.

As well as working to create more credible and time-bound FIPs in our supply chain, we have also worked with WWF and Finance Earth to develop a new fund for future FIPs. At the same time, we continue our work to develop and use more fishery by-products as feed ingredients.

Cargill continues to utilize alternative ingredients 

Over the last 20 years, Cargill reduced its use of marine ingredients for the average global salmon feed composition by nearly 80%. 

Instead, in 2022, 41% of its total marine ingredients by volume were sourced from trimmings, as opposed to forage fish. 

Additionally, 91.4% of the marine ingredients for its coldwater feeds were from certified or improvement program sources.

The company is also focused on advancing the use of alternative ingredients like insect meal and algae oil, for instance, to help expand its raw material basket and produce more feeds sustainably. 

Moreover, Cargill is keen on developing better feed packaging solutions that keep a lot of plastic out of the environment.

We have started using bags that contain 15% less plastic in Vietnam. These bags, used for our Nurcare and Aquaxcel brands, will keep tens of tons of plastic waste and thousands of tons of carbon out of the environment over the next few years. We will continue to bring our plastic use down through similar initiatives for other brands and markets,” Cargill indicated in the report.

It also reported that, in 2022, sales of its functional feeds -designed to maintain fish health and reduce the need for medication like antibiotics through the boosting of the animals’ immune systems under stressful conditions- reached their highest level since 2017. 

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