Potential for livestock production in Asia and Eastern Europe
Summary of a panel discussion at the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture
Increasing demand for animal source foods is posing particular challenges for the agricultural sector. An intensification of production of animal source foods and their trading is required in order to satisfy the rise in demand from global population growth and increasing prosperity. In addition to efficient livestock husbandry, environmental and climate-friendly aspects as well as animal welfare need to be considered. The associated opportunities and risks for Asia and Eastern European regions were discussed in the scope of the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA) in the panel discussion “How can livestock production contribute to global food security? Farms and industries of the future in Asia and Eastern Europe”. This event saw some 130 international guests from the fields of politics, science and civil society come together in Berlin on 19 January 2018.
In the greeting Dr. Arnd Nenstiel, Chairman of the German Agribusiness Alliance at the German Asia-Pacific Business Association (OAV), pointed to the particular importance of keeping livestock as a key economic activity in many regions of the world. In Asia in particular, where 60 percent of the world’s population lives, there is increasing demand for animal source foods. As a consequence, Chinese and international companies are investing heavily in livestock production in China, at this time above all the dairy production and processing sector. Although the production of animal source foods can make a key contribution to food security, numerous questions remain concerning both realisation and the role of the fields of politics and business.
In his inaugural address State Secretary Dr. Hermann Onko Aeikens, Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL), spoke of the current bilateral co-operation projects with China and Ukraine. The goal of the projects are to recognise the potential of these countries in the field of livestock production and to provide support in avoiding mistakes and promoting further development. In this respect he addressed particular aspects of sustainable and low-impact use of resources, climate change, animal welfare, structural and social consequences, changes in rural areas and open and fair trading relationships.
In the subsequent panel discussion Dr. Olga Trofimtseva, Vice Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine, declared that Ukraine has achieved great success in the field of organic and ecological agriculture in recent years. In contrast, livestock husbandry has declined considerably since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Today, half of all Ukrainian meat products still come from private households and smallholders. Migration from rural areas and low domestic purchasing power, particularly for beef, pose an additional problem for the further development of the sector. Vice Minister Trofimtseva pointed out that greater investment, the implementation of EU standards and the expansion of trading relationships will be required for the livestock production sector in the future. However, alongside these competitiveness-enhancing measures it is also necessary to maintain the balance between global and regional markets.
Dr. Shenggen Fan, Director General of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), addressed the negative consequences of increasing livestock production. The effects on climate and environment as well as the high financial cost represent a difficult situation for smallholders. In his estimation there is a need above all for politicians to influence the practices of livestock production and promote healthy nutrition in the population through low meat consumption. Targeted measures, such as the taxing of emissions-intensive foodstuffs, are required to reduce the drastic greenhouse emissions.
On the podium Dr. Jean-Louis Peyraud, President of the Animal Task Force (atf) and Deputy Scientific Director for Agriculture at the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA), discussed how livestock production could be rendered more efficient through a circulatory, organic-based approach. In this cycle plant and animal products are linked more closely to one another. In addition, by-products of the plants are used as animal feed and the resultant liquid manure in turn utilised as plant fertiliser.
Ralf Strassemeyer Managing Director of Masterrind GmbH, an international leader in the field of cattle rearing, the marketing of breeding cattle and artificial insemination, was invited as a representative of the world of business. In the scope of his experiences in co-operation with over 8,500 member operations he reported on the high level of influence exerted by modern technologies, the size of operations, qualified management and training programmes on the productivity of a company in the livestock farming sector. Smallholders are mostly unable to withstand this competitive pressure. In conclusion, Strassemeyer stressed that supportive and co-operative projects are particularly important in this area.
Professor Martin Petrick, Deputy Head of the Department Agricultural Policy, Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Transition Economies (IAMO), moderated the panel discussion.
The panel discussion was organised by the German Agribusiness Alliance, German Asia-Pacific Business Association (OAV), German Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations (OA), Association of German Livestock (BRS) in co-operation with the IAMO and the German-Sino Agricultural Center (DCZ).
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The 10th Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA) entitled “Shaping the Future of Livestock – sustainably, responsibly, efficiently” was held in Berlin, Germany, from 18 to 20 January 2018. It was organized by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) in cooperation with GFFA Berlin e.V., the Senate of Berlin and Messe Berlin GmbH. General information on the GFFA 2018 can be found on the conference website: www.gffa-berlin.de/en.
The Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Transition Economies (IAMO) analyses economic, social and political processes of change in the agricultural and food sector, and in rural areas. The geographic focus covers the enlarging EU, transition regions of Central, Eastern and South Eastern Europe, as well as Central and Eastern Asia. IAMO works to enhance the understanding of institutional, structural and technological changes. Moreover, IAMO studies the resulting impacts on the agricultural and food sector as well as the living conditions of rural populations. The outcomes of our work are used to derive and analyze strategies and options for enterprises, agricultural markets and politics. Since its founding in 1994, IAMO has been part of the Leibniz Association, a German community of independent research institutes.
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