The EU animal food chain continuously adapts to societal drivers, while the feed and livestock sector has operational needs to remain competitive. The 2030 Vision contains the solutions the feed industry offers to the downstream partner demands concerning livestock farming in terms of animal health, animal welfare, animal products’ quality as well as resource efficiency and cost effectiveness. We will need support, however, from both food chain stakeholders and public authorities to make our vision come to fruition. The feed stage is an essential part of animal husbandry which requires both public and private investment in animal nutrition science as well as partnerships to foster the sector’s pre‑competitive capacities to safeguard the economic long term viability of EU livestock farming.
The spread of anti-microbial resistance is for example one of the greatest threats to human health. Just as with human beings, balanced diets foster animal health and help to prevent sickness, meaning less need for medication at farm level. It is innovation in animal nutrition, such as the stimulation of the animal’s immune system through improving gut health that makes this kind of achievements possible. When it comes to climate change, the EU feed industry makes a substantial contribution to the mitigation of environmental impacts by annually converting 90 million tonnes of co-products, including 3.5 million tonnes of former foodstuffs, into animal feed, resulting in less use of arable land for feed production.
For the benefit of improved feed safety management, FEFAC envisions streamlined cooperation between official controls and industry auto-control systems, both striving for the same objective of ensuring optimised risk management along the chain. FEFAC is committed to the feed sector’s capacity building and the dissemination of best practices.
In the area of sustainability, FEFAC members are also delivering food chain solutions, for example by developing the methodology to measure the environmental footprint of feed production in the EU Feed PEF Pilot, whose category rules are expected to be assessed and approved by DG ENVI still in 2016. And in less than a year after the FEFAC Soy Sourcing Guidelines were published, 11 responsible soy programmes have already been independently assessed and deemed compliant by ITC, continuing the way towards a transparent mainstream market for responsible soy.
FEFAC President Ruud Tijssens (left) together with FEFANA President Marco Bruni at the FEFAC-FEFANA Conference on 9 June 2016© Yanne Boloh
The European feed industry moves animal nutrition science back into the spotlight and onto the EU agenda. “Animal feed solutions” should become a common concept in the societal and food chain debate when it comes to challenges faced by the livestock sector. The FEFAC 2030 Feed Industry Vision is a call to partnership for a competitive EU livestock sector which can rely on of safe, nutritionally optimised, cost-effective and environmentally friendly feed. FEFANA, representing the feed additives sector, has been the first feed chain partner to endorse the FEFAC vision while adding its specific sector competence and vision on feed products requiring pre-market approval, resulting in a joint key messages document. We invite all other partners of the feed chain to also bring their perspective to the table and jointly investigate the potential synergies along the feed and livestock chain to make our vision happen.
Ruud Tijssens is President of FEFAC