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Ex-ante economic assessment of research: High omega-3 soybean oil for mariculture

Subir K Bairagi, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


This dissertation investigates the economic feasibility of high Omega-3 soybean oil (STA oil) substituted for 50% of the fish oil into the diet of S. rivoliana, examines the potential welfare impact of the adoption of the STA oil diets, and estimates the potential rate of return from $1.7 million investment in research of this technology. The results show the two feed technologies are essentially identical, with respect to growth pattern, feed consumption, and flesh quality. Economic feasibility depends upon the price of STA oil being lower than the price of fish oil. I estimate that it will be when it becomes available. The estimated production cost savings is small (about 1%). However, the potential global market for STA oil could be as much as 250 thousand metric tons annually; which would require soybean production equivalent to that from 1.6% of current U.S. soybean area. The results also show that the U.S. soybean processors would benefit the most ($1.923 billion), followed by soybean farmers ($659 million), and mariculture firms ($127 million). Consumer surplus would increase $44 million. However, Peruvian fishmeal/fish oil processors and fishermen would lose $27 million and $3 million, respectively. I estimate a rate of return of 4% on public funds invested in this technology, if adoption is restricted to the production of S. rivoliana, or 69% if it is adopted in the production of all yellowtail species and all farmed salmon. The 2013 present value of discounted net benefits from this technology is estimated to be between $1 million and $ 39 billion, depending on the level of adoption as well as the discount rates.

Subject Area

Agricultural economics

Recommended Citation

Bairagi, Subir K, "Ex-ante economic assessment of research: High omega-3 soybean oil for mariculture" (2015). ETD collection for University of Nebraska-Lincoln. AAI3716127.