Ensuring sustainable animal feeding:
FAO meets with representatives of the private sector to address sustainability in the feed production chain.
FAO and the International Feed Industry Federation (IFIF) addressed together the challenge of ensuring sustainability in animal feeding. Last week at FAO Headquarter in Rome, 45 representatives of the feed production and marketing chain met with FAO officers to discuss over two days themes such as feed safety, environmental impact of feed production and Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), sustainable animal diets, production and marketing trends.
Worldwide compound feed production was close to an estimated 870 million tons in 2011 (worth approximately USD 350 billion); to this around 300 million tons of feed produced by on farm mixing should be added. With the global expanding demand for animal protein, feed production is expected to continue grow by at least 3% a year; however, the recent surge in grain prices could slow down this growth or lead to a search for alternative, cheaper source of feed ingredients. IFIF gathers national and regional feed industry associations, supplier associations and agri-business; its membership produce over 80% of the compound feed globally.
The challenges that the livestock sector, of which feed production and integral part, faces are every day more complex: an increased competition for the use of primary products (food consumption and biofuel; a growing and more sophisticated demand; the need to guarantee socio-economic development, social equity and public health, to protect smaller farmers and rural communities, to contribute to the mitigation of climate change and to the preservation of natural resources (land, water, air) and biodiversity and finally to meet societal demands such us animal welfare. In particular, the feed sector is under increasing pressure to supply sustainable, safe and healthy feed.
Complex challenges call for complex solutions and strong partnerships among the relevant players. For this reason, the partnership between FAO and IFIF has a major role to play. The collaboration between FAO and IFIF is long lasting and has concretized in several examples of valuable activities, among which the Manual of Good Practices for the Feed Industry, which is now been issued also in Chinese, four Global Feed and Food Congresses, several International Feed Regulators Meetings.
During this year meeting, the two organizations have confirmed their commitment to continue to work together to raise awareness on the importance of feed safety among all operators of the feed and food chains and to develop capacities for the implementation of the Codex Alimentarius recommendations; to address the challenges of environmental sustainability through the Global Agenda of Action in Support of Sustainable Livestock Sector Development and the FAO Partnership on the Environmental Benchmarking of Livestock Supply.
In addition, the following activities have been priorities as deserving higher attention and translation into further collaborative activities by FAO and IFIF: the education of youths and more specifically young farmers; the prevention of food waste along the production and consumption chain, and the availability and quality data on livestock feed.