International Aquafeed – Neil Auchterlonie's Monthly Column – May 2019
The following was published in International Aquafeed
Global Feed and Food Congress (GFFC) – what do we need to do to get fish recognized as a world force in the feed industry?
One of the very fortunate aspects of working for IFFO is that in representation of the marine ingredients industry we find ourselves attending very many interesting meetings in different locations around the world every year. March was an opportunity to attend the 6th Global Feed and Food Congress, held in Bangkok, Thailand, an event organized by the International Feed Industry Federation (IFIF). The Congress is held every three years, this year having a theme of “The Future of Feed & Food – are we ready?”.
This was a really interesting event that afforded the opportunity, that sadly only happens occasionally given time constraints in the normal day-to-day business, to think strategically about about the next challenges to come to feed a growing population. A series of very interesting sessions and presentations was held over 3 days, from intergovernmental organization representatives such as the FAO, academics, and other thought leaders in the field.
The audience was treated to a view of the 4th agricultural revolution – that of digitalising agriculture, which included strong reference to precision livestock farming, and the application of new technology such as Blockchain in securing the traceability of animal protein production systems. For some time we at IFFO have been considering how Blockchain may have a role to play in the fishmeal and fish oil sector, so it was interesting to see what the adoption level is like in other industries.
One of the more regular communicated messages about the importance of managing environmental impacts was raised, and there was a very strong quote from one speaker that “we can only manage what we can measure”. With an increasing focus on the adoption of approaches that align with, or adopt LCA methodology, this is coming increasing to the fore. Having been involved with similar work for the fishmeal industry it is clear that the sector shows some favourable results in some categories, and as usual for the feed manufacturers it will be a case of looking at all available ingredients with which to formulate nutritionally complete feedstuffs with good environmental performance.
Precision livestock farming (PLF) also brings with it a very clear emphasis on the importance of customizing nutrition. As has been discussed in this column many times before, that really drives forward a great opportunity for fishmeal and fish oil, which, although low in volume (comparatively), are high in impact through the nutrition they deliver in feeds, and especially aquafeeds. PLF really represents a fabulous opportunity for feed manufacturers to sue the materials strategically and to best effect in their products.
One of the more, perhaps alarming, presentations was on the opportunity for lab-grown meats in the market. From the information presented, this looks to be close to commercial reality. It is going to be really interesting to see how the market for artificial meat and fish develops over time, if at all.
Dr Neil Auchterlonie
IFFO Technical Director