Suppliers' News

Breathing life into the desert

Friday, May 16, 2003

Spread out between the Red Sea and the desert is an exemplary shrimp breeding facility â€" and right in the middle of it a Buhler feed manufacturing plant. Using a new production process, it produces a specialty feed for shrimp enabling the animals to be raised in pure saltwater.

Sand, nothing but sand â€" as far as you can see. Fifty degrees Celsius in the shade. And no possibility of wresting anything you could eat out of the strip of desert located directly on the shores of the Red Sea â€" apart from shrimp. Hundreds of tons of them. Of top quality, deep-frozen and packaged, destined for the sophisticated export markets.

No drinking water consumed
The Saudi National Prawn Company raises tons of shrimp on feed from a turnkey Buhler plant. The delicate animals are bred in huge ponds filled with pure saltwater that comes directly from the Red Sea. The seawater circulates continuously between the ponds and the sea. No drinking water is consumed. Unlike breeding facilities in other countries that are rightly criticized by environmentalists, this installation requires neither the draining of mangrove swamps nor produces any salinization of fertile soils.

The breeding ponds are as big as eight football fields, and the animals are fed from boats. The ponds cover an area of about 200 square kilometers â€" enough space for the Principality of Liechtenstein to fit in. A veritable city has emerged around the installation, complete with mosque and its own energy and water utilities. The roughly 2000 inhabitants are employees of the National Prawn Company.

New process from Buhler
It has become possible to utilize this arid stretch of land among other things thanks to the new feed manufacturing process which makes the Buhler shrimp feed plant in Saudi Arabia so unique. The process is made up of several stages: First the raw materials are cleaned. Then they are weighed in exact compliance with the feed formulation by Buhler proportioning equipment, which is known for its high precision.

After this, they are finely ground and transferred to a high-speed mixer. Following a special cooking and conditioning phase developed by Buhler in collaboration with the customer, the mix is pelletized. The feed pellets undergo final conditioning and are then dried and vacuum-coated so they will not contaminate the saltwater but serve entirely as feed for the shrimp. This allows the shrimp to be raised in pure saltwater. Finally, the finished pellets are cooled to make them storable and then packaged.

A substantial part of the raw material costs can be saved by this new process, the exact figure, of course, being the business secret of the National Prawn Company. The feed quality is even higher than that produced by conventional processes. Moreover, Saudi Arabia is distinguishing itself as one of the world’s biggest operators of sustained shrimp breeding facilities â€" thanks to the trend-setting feed manufacturing process from Buhler.

Buhler is a global Technology Group and System Partner for plant and equipment and for process expertise in the fields of Food Processing, Chemical Engineering, and Die Casting, with a worldwide payroll of about 6,300.

For additional information, please contact: JĂĽrg Solenthaler, Area Sales Manager Feed Technology, Phone +41 71 955 30 61, Fax +41 71 955 28 96, E-mail:


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