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Agricultural Biotechnology

Top-of-industry High-female-ratio Softshell Turtle Hatchling Technology Increases Benefit for Local Industry

Date:2016-03-31

Guided by the Council of Agriculture (COA) and administered by Taiwan Institute of Economic Research (TIER), the Agricultural Innovation Exchange and Strategic Cooperation Program showcased the result of its AgTech project named "Innovative softshell turtle breeding technology increase female hatchling and fertilized eggs productive efficiency as well as feed study" at the Softshell Turtle Aquafarm of Sanhe Biotech Co., Ltd. located in Ligang Township, Pingtung County. The project has successfully increased the ratio of female hatchling from 40% to 90% and adjusted the softshell turtle egg supply period in accordance with the market demand to assist aquaculture farmers in securing production efficiency of fertilized eggs. It was estimated that with the application of the technology, the number of brood softshell turtle may increase for every million fertilized eggs, which could amount to an industrial value of up to NT$100 million every year.

Innovate higher female ratio of softshell turtle hatchling and fertilized eggs conservation technology to promote Taiwan's unique brand

The COA stated that Taiwan has played an important role in worldwide softshell turtle supplying chain. The major consumption of edible softshell turtle in the world is in China, which imports 400 million fertilized eggs from Taiwan each year and account for over 60% of the total domestic demand. Fertilized egg is in the list of ECFA early harvest list; as a result, the import tax has been deducted from 20% to 0 since 2013, contributing to a rapid increase of profit. By nature 60% of the softshell turtle hatchling was male and 40% female and in Taiwan most of the aquaculture farmers took in female softshell turtle, while 10% of the feed went to male softshell turtle to avoid the waste of breeding resources. The breeding season in Taiwan fell between February and November with a peak from May to August. Nevertheless, breeding season in China from April to August overlapped with that in Taiwan, which easily caused the fluctuation and drop of the market price.

The COA further explained that Sanhe Biotech Co., Ltd. introduced the female hatchling production technology from National Pingtung University of Science and Technology and achieved a successful ratio of over 90% female softshell turtle. Besides, the company was able to control the supply number of fertilized eggs to set a balance between quantity and price. According to the company's estimation, there would be an increase of 340,000 softshell turtle from every million fertilized egg and two years after spawning, the yield of industry could increase up to NT$100 million each year and the feeding and management cost of male softshell turtle could be saved around NT$23 million.
 
The COA further iterated that Sanhe has dedicated to the innovation and research on brood softshell turtle formula feed like floating fish feed with nice palatability and higher survival rate up to 0.8% compared with general wet pellet feed as well as higher egg yield rate increase of 6%. In this way, the formula effectively saved the frozen space, equipment and electricity cost of the wet pellet feed and brought down the number of pathogens in the culture pond. In recent years, the company has received the verification of ISO 22000:2005 and HACCP and passed the examination of softshell turtle aquatic farm and transit package factory exporting to China. The fertilized egg from Taiwan has its own brand and the follow-up disease prevention and control technology would be carried out with relevant academic research institutions so that the production volume and value could be enhanced from the R&D application. 
 

Encourage companies to invest in innovative research and boost the new agricultural value chain in Taiwan 

Last but not least, the COA added that from 2007 to 2015, AgTech project has completed 51 cases with an accumulation of fruitful results. Every NT$1 the government subsidized could generate a direct and indirect investment worth NT$9.25 and create NT$3.82 of industrial yield. In the future, they would continue to promote the project and encourage more innovative R&D in order to achieve the objective of technology industrialization and create a new agricultural value chain in Taiwan.

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