Day 3 - IFFO/JCI conference & visit to Evergreen (Andrew Mallison)
It’s Thursday so this must be Sanya City, Hainan, the venue for the IFFO/JCI spring conference. With a tropical heat after the coolness of Beijing and Chengdu and a holiday feel to the hotel, people are dressed in shorts and t-shirts while sipping cold drinks under palm trees.
Sadly we are not on holiday and there is an 8am departure for a tour of local fish farms, kindly organised by IFFO member Evergreen Ltd. The conference agenda today is about agri commodities so many of the fishmeal people take the opportunity to take the tour. The tour bus gets back just in time for a 5pm meeting about quality problems experienced in China – all the seats are taken with standing room only and we hear that backstreet local producers have copied imported fishmeal labels and applied them to their very poor quality fishmeal. The big feed companies don’t buy this stuff but it can be sampled by government inspectors and suddenly an innocent overseas producer is on a black list. IFFO agrees to help find tamper-evident labels and packaging but also advise the authorities that fake labels are a problem.
The other area of difficulty is consistently meeting the official Chinese standard on salt in fishmeal – the standard was originally written for Chinese fishmeal produced from freshwater fish so marine fish struggle to comply without further processing, which adds cost. The best chance of success is via the official government to government channels but we offer to collate data from producers and submit it to the Chinese authorities.
As soon as the quality meeting is over, it’s straight to the Conference Dinner, held outdoors in the steamy evening air. As co-hosts, I have to do a short opening speech and look smart in suit and tie. Speech done, just when I was thinking I could take off my jacket and tie, I was reminded I would be awarding some prizes – certainly had to work for my dinner tonight. After dinner, one last meeting of the day with the Thai Fishmeal Association and then head to my room.