Last year, the firm secured land and sea leases totaling more than 6600 hectares in the waters off Brunei Darussalam. The site will farm barramundi and when completed, will have a capacity of 36,000 tonnes by 2032.
Tan Ying Quan, the firm’s senior business development manager, told FoodNavigator-Asia: “Barramundi Asia has started setting up our growing operations in Brunei and we will be developing our land-based nursery, sea nursery and grow-out farms progressively over a period of four to five years.”
He said the company’s short-term goal was to produce more than 11,000 tonnes by 2023 across its Singapore, Australia and Brunei's farming sites.
Food security and sustainable efforts
Tan told us the firm’s multiple farming sites in Australia and Singapore, coupled with sustainable farming practices can help meet the food security needs of the region.
In Singapore, where the firm was first established in 2008, the government had a goal of producing 30% of the nation’s food by 2030. This included vegetables, eggs and fish.
Singapore currently imports over 90% of food, and the government is working on reducing its reliance on imports.
The firm currently processes and markets barramundi products via its Kuhlbarra brand. Products include individual and multi-portion barramundi for B2C customers, as well as larger fillets and by-products such as swim bladder, head, bone and scale for B2B customers.
Its sea bass products are available on its online store (Kuhlbarra), supermarkets, as well as for the hotel and food service sectors in Singapore.
Tan told us: “Barramundi Asia is serving customers across Asia-Pacific, such as Singapore, Australia, China, Thailand, and Korea and we plan to enter new markets in APAC in the future.”
It is also involved in animal health, owning its vaccine laboratory business (UVAXX). UVAXX develops and supplies proprietary autogenous vaccines for Barramundi Asia as well as third-party farm operators.
Tan said the firm was constantly looking out for new lease sites that can provide the optimal environmental conditions to grow barramundi.
“We believe that there is a potential for barramundi to be the most sustainable farmed fish in the world and we put a lot of emphasis in building our farming capabilities and acquiring cutting edge technologies to be at the forefront of developing barramundi as a species.”
This year, the firm acquired a Singapore deep-tech aquaculture start-up, Allegro Aqua, that produces an elite strain of the barramundi, known as the St John’s sea bass. The elite sea bass can be bred in 30% less time and were less susceptible to diseases.
“The acquisition allowed us to enhance our hatchery capabilities and benefit from enhanced productivity, reduced mortality and improved feed conversion ratio from using selected superior fingerlings,” Tan said.