Accurate and comprehensive feed assessment – a pre-requisite for sustainable livestock sector development
A Regional Initiative on "Animal Feed Resources and their Management in the Asia-Pacific Region"
An FAO-APHCA Workshop will be organised from 13-15 August 2013 in Bangkok to discuss and review state-of-the art on national feed assessments and to identify critical knowledge gaps. The workshop will lead to: 1. An agreed approach for: a) conducting feed assessments at country and regional levels, b) characterising feeding systems, c) generating quantitative information on compound feed and concentrate mix, including the cereals and cereal types and agro-industrial by-products that are used in the production of compound feed and concentrate mix, and d) updating regularly information a), b) and c); and 2. A regional initiative for a better use of feed in livestock production in Asia.
Feed is the foundation of the livestock production, with feed costs generally accounting for up to 70% of the cost of animal production. Furthermore, animal feeding impacts animal reproduction, health and welfare and safety of animal products. Ensuring access to feed in sufficient quantity and quality is therefore among the key and strategic priorities for livestock sector development. However, the prospects of dramatically increasing feed demands raises the serious question as to how these feed requirements will be met, particularly in land-constrained countries and regions.
In order to better monitor the national and regional livestock sectors and formulate adequate development strategies, it has become essential to develop systematic approaches to accurately assess livestock feed supplies in addition to obtaining better insight into how feed resources are being utilized. Feed assessments are a pre-requisite for developing optimal feeding strategies at various levels and thus environmental sustainability and support food security. The ability to cope with emergency feed shortage situations, the ability to provide input data into country level food input-output analyses, and the capability to assess environmental impact of livestock are challenges that all initiatives and stakeholders involved in sustainable livestock development are confronted with.
Better feed assessments will strengthen past and on-going work done by several institutions in the region (research, development, producers, etc). They could be a basis for more informed decision and stronger advocacy on the need for pro-poor investments in livestock feeds in order to face the increasing market demand for livestock products in the region.
If food security is to be achieved and the demand for livestock feed met, agricultural R&D must also be involved for a better focus on integrated approaches to producing and marketing more food (staple crops and livestock products) and feed. Drivers of the sourcing and utilization of the feed need to be better factored in considering the agro-ecological systems but also the requirements of the various value chains as well as their constraints, potential, level of integration and specialization. Feed assessments are therefore a component of an overall strategy that will integrate technical (genetics, health and nutrition), policy and institutional interventions for using resources more efficiently to produce more food and feed in extensive, mixed crop-livestock, mixed extensive and intensive systems.
By analysing and anticipating the evolution of the feed sector in Asia and subsequently strategically targeting technical, institutional and policy interventions, it should be possible:
- to foster policy processes and mechanisms at regional and national level that contribute to food security, poverty alleviation and sustainable livestock sector development;
- to support resource-poor livestock-keepers in their efforts to alleviate input constraints to food and feed production and exploit market opportunities for livestock products;
- build mechanisms to establish and maintain feed assessments in Asia.
The workshop will be attended by (i) national delegates involved in animal production with particular expertise in the field of animal feeding, (ii) directors of animal production in ministries of Livestock or Agriculture, (iii) experts in livestock development, animal nutrition, feed technology, (iv) livestock development officers (regional development institutions, research, NGO, FAO) and (v) private processors and feed producers. To set the scene, country delegates are preparing country papers and will make a presentation on the animal feed sector in their country.
The preliminary Agenda of the workshop is available here