During the second edition of the CORAF symposium on the state of agricultural products processing in West and Central Africa, a theme developed by the Togolese Institute for Agricultural Research (ITRA) stood out and caught the attention of participants.

“Fish feeding, a major challenge for fish production in Togo” is the theme presented by N’FEIDE TOÏ, zootechnician engineer at the Togolese Institute for Agricultural Research (ITRA). The traditional processing of soya for its integration into fish feed has been highlighted. The study shows that the roasting process necessary for the incorporation of soya into fish feed is not controlled by aquaculturists, particularly in rural areas, because of its technological complexity.

Faced with this situation, a new approach is emerging that does not involve roasting. “We came up with the idea of studying the possibility of a soybean germination process for incorporation into fish feed, to see what the results would be. The initial study presented at this CORAF symposium aims to assess the impact of this process on the protein content of soybeans and to test its effectiveness in fish feed“, shares the Togolese researcher TOÏ.

To everyone’s surprise, the results were convincing: sprouted soybeans, whether fresh or dried, proved non-toxic to fish.  “Over a period of 56 days, fish fed with this soya showed a normal survival rate. What’s more, the protein content of sprouted soy proved to be similar to that of roasted soy, with the advantage that the sprouting technique is mastered by the fish farmers“, says Mr. TOÏ.

However, one challenge remains: the presence of aflatoxin in sprouted soybeans, due to the drying methods used, notably sun-drying. As a result, a key recommendation emerged from the research: the need to develop a technological package to perfect a germination process that eliminates the presence of aflatoxin. Aflatoxins are toxins produced by certain fungi present in food crops. They often contaminate food products and can cause health problems.

According to the researcher, this edition of the CORAF symposium offers an opportunity for learning and sharing, as the topics addressed are also being studied in other countries in the sub-region and beyond. This pooling of knowledge provides a valuable opportunity to improve practices and establish partnerships that will benefit all those involved.