The First International Aquaculture Fair in Neiva was held from the 5th to the 7th of May 2022, and was mainly organized by the local government of Huila (where Neiva is the capital city) with the support of other important partners; Fedeacua (Colombian Federation of Aquaculture Producers), CNCC (Colombian-Norwegian Chamber of Commerce), Norwegian Embassy in Bogotá, Norad (Norwegian Directorate for Development Cooperation), ICA (Colombian Agricultural Institute), AUNAP (National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority), MinAgricultura (Colombian Ministry of Agriculture, MINCIT (Colombian Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Tourism), UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organization, to mention a few.

The Fair had three components; an academic/institutional, a commercial, and cultural. Where the academic component was divided into four main themes; Production and New Technologies, Genetics, Fish Health, and Sustainability. Norway had an important presence in the Genetics, Sustainability and Fish Health themes.

Within the Institutional component in the academic agenda, CNCC had the opportunity to organize “Norway Day”, highlighting the sighing of the Fish for Development (FfD) Norway-Colombia Cooperation agreement, and all the seven projects within the FfD umbrella. CNCC also contributed to organizing a Norwegian delegation to the Fair as part of their aquaculture strategic partnership project with Norad, Caritas, Pharmaq/Zoetis, and Piscícola Botero.

In the sustainability component of the Fair, Dr. Josef D. Rasinger, and Dr. Nina Liland (both IMR) presented their latest work and ongoing projects on novel aquafeeds and feed safety research. Dr. Rasinger was present in person; Dr. Liland presented her talk virtually; both presented their work in Spanish, the working language at the fair.

Dr. Liland focused on opportunities and challenges concerning the use and implementation of novel sustainably sourced feed ingredients for aquaculture.

Dr. Rasinger shortly talked about regulatory challenges related to the use of feed ingredients sourced from side- and waste streams in circular economies. and highlighted ongoing collaborations between Norway and Colombia. He briefly reported on a circular economy focused project called BioInsectonomy that recently was funded by German, Norwegian and Colombian funding agencies. The project will focus on the use of insect protein in fish farming in Colombia and will assess if suitable organic waste streams can be found for insect rearing; assessing in parallel nutritional parameters for farmed fish and safety aspects and potential risks to both farmed fish and consumers. On behalf of Ragnhild Balsvik, Dr. Rasinger also presented key information on the “The Institutional Cooperation under the Fish for Development Program in Colombia”, and on behalf of Dr. Rita Hanisdal, he provided some key facts on the Global Action Network (GAN).

Following the presentations, Dr. Rasinger got the chance to chat with other conference attendees and together with other delegates present at the fair, were present at the Norway stand of CNCC situated in the fair grounds. Dr. Rasinger commented that: “It was great to see the keen interest in the topic of sustainably sourced feed for aquaculture in circular economies in Colombia. It also was interesting to note that many conference participants and local stakeholders had a keen interest in insect farming for aquafeed production, feed safety and the environmental impact of aquaculture in the Huila region. It also was great to see the ingenuity and breadth of work presented when attending the Norway stand and affiliated stands of local small producers part of the Norwegian Funded projects; “Productivity and Sustainability in the Tilapia Value Chain” (Strategic Partnership between Norad, Caritas, Pharmaq/Zoetis, Piscícola Botero, and CNCC), and “Improved Livelihoods in aquaculture for the rural youths in Caquetá Colombia”.

Delegate Speakers representing Norwegian companies and institutions:

• Mr. Hideyoshi Segovia, CEO of Spring Genetics
• Dr. Marcela Salazar in representation of Birgitte Sørheim, Benchmark Genetics
• Dr. Josef Rasinger, Institute of Marine Research (IMR)
• Mr. Andres Henao, Pharmaq/Zoetis
• Dr. Tiago Fernandes, Genomar Genetics
• Dr. Nina Liland, Institute of Marine Research (virtual)
Other Delegates representing Norwegian companies, projects and organizations:
• Mr. Jørn Lein-Mathiesen CEO Business Angels Norway/Oslo International Hub
• Mr. Miguel Leiva, Country Manager Cambi Group AS
• Ms. Alejandra Neira, Business Development Manager RecMan AS and Managing President CNCC-Colombian Norwegian Chamber of Commerce (Norway)
• Mr. Hans Christian Boehlke, Antler AS and Aldeamo (Norway)
• Mr. Martin Cordero, GenoMar Genetics (Costa Rica)
• Mr. Carlos Lopez, Spring Genetics (USA)
• Ms. Rita Anson WIN – Women Investor Network/Business Angels Norway (Norway)
• Mr. Alan Bojanic, Colombia Representant FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations)
• Ms. Heysel Calderon, FAO
• Ms. Jessica Angulo, UNIDO
• Ms. Adriana Bermudez, Caritas Colombia
• Ms. Andrea Garay, Invemar
• Ms. Guro Glavin, Norad Fish for Development – virtual
• Ms. Ashild Falch, Head of Cooperation at the Norwegian Embassy in Bogotá – virtual
• Ms. Pilar Santos Neves, Innovation Norway – virtual
• Ms. Karoline Roti, NOREC (Norwegian Agency for Exchange Cooperation) – virtual
• Mr. Mehraz Rafat, Norad Private Sector Development – virtual
• Ms. Vanessa Colorado, Caritas Norway – virtual
• Mrs. Joaquín Cristancho, Caritas Colombia – virtual
• Ms. Laura Jaramillo, Conservation International – virtual
• Mr. Juan Caldad, Conservation International – virtual
• Ms. Daniela Kalikoski. FAO – virtual
• Ms. Lejda Toci, UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime) – virtual

More Information about the event can be found here.