European feed industry trade groups FEFAC and FEFANA held a joint high-level European Union conference on “Innovation in Animal Nutrition” in Brussels, Belgium, on June 9, which attracted more than 170 participants. In the context of the feed sector’s political and economic framework, the event showcased a series of solutions that animal nutrition can provide. The program featured European Commission officials, feed industry representatives and speakers from the farming sector, academia and the banking sector.
Dr. Vytenis Andriukaitis, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, emphasized in his keynote speech the important role of science and innovation to address key EU challenges and objectives. He outlined the example of the EU ban on antibiotic growth promoters in 2006, which triggered a rush of innovative feed additives coming to the market to restore competitiveness of the EU livestock sector. “Innovation in animal nutrition is a vital element in increasing animal health as well as an important step forward" on antimicrobial resistance, he said.
FEFAC and FEFANA presented the vision of a modern feed industry that intends to shape a smart, resource efficient Europe through innovation and public-private partnerships. In a vision document, FEFAC and FEFANA outlined the feed industry solutions to meet current and future challenges to the EU livestock sector.
FEFAC president Ruud Tijssens stressed the role of animal nutrition in the food chain circular economy. “It is thanks to animal nutrition science that the feed industry is able to annually convert 90 million (metric) ton of co-products into high-value feed ingredients for food-producing animals. Innovation in the area of alternative feeds as well as feed processing technology make it possible to continuously reduce the feed industry’s environmental footprint,” he said.
FEFANA president Marco Bruni said the feed sector has a huge innovation potential to improve the feed efficiency of the EU livestock sector, however the regulatory approval system for the authorization of new feed additives needs speeding up. “There is a strong market demand for the products we deliver, but we often find ourselves caught in a slowly operating regulatory approval process. The feed industry vision is therefore also a call on policy makers and risk assessors to streamline the process. Furthermore, investment in scientific research in animal nutrition and in innovation, as well as more stakeholder dialogue are prerequisites to making the vision happen,” Bruni said.
FEFANA - EU Association of Specialty Feed Ingredients and their Mixtures is the united voice of the specialty feed ingredients business in Europe. The specialty feed ingredients industry has a turnover of 18 billion euros globally; of which about 5 billion is generated in the EU. This innovative industry supplies all animal production systems with micro-ingredients solutions, complementing the macro-ingredients used in the animal ration.
FEFAC, the European Compound Feed Manufacturers’ Federation, represents 25 national associations in 24 EU Member States as well as associations in Switzerland, Turkey, Serbia, Russia and Norway with observer/associate member status. The European compound feed industry employs over 110,000 persons on approximately 4,000 production sites often in rural areas, which offer few employment opportunities.
Farm animals in the EU-28 consume an estimated 480 mmt of feed a year, of which about 30% are produced by the compound feed manufacturers. Turnover of the European compound feed industry is estimated at 50 billion euros.