26 June 2019 – Several of the challenges animal nutrition and production are facing today offer opportunities for Asian companies and researchers to take a leading role in discovering solutions, according to Feedinfo editor Shannon Behary, speaking to an audience of feed manufacturers, additives producers, regulators and researchers at the Feed Additives Asia conference in Bangkok today.
As she points out, many of the most pernicious challenges involve the aqua feed sector, which has to find new feedstuffs to avoid overfishing the oceans for fishmeal production, navigate the difficult tradeoffs in hatchery feed, and better mobilize attention and resources to deal with unique nutritional and disease challenges.
“Even for the largest species in aquaculture, such as shrimp, there has been significantly less research than in land-based animals,” she asserts. “There are clearly fortunes to be made and commercial empires to be built in this underserved sector. And given that 90% of world aquaculture is in Asia, Asian companies and research institutions are at ground zero for taking advantage of these opportunities.
Global climate change may prove to be another source of new disruption, both positive and negative. As Behary acknowledges, there is significant risk that volatile weather can wreak havoc on cereal crop markets or interrupt chemical production and shipping. Regulation, meanwhile, might prove to be heavy-handed, as the Chinese government has shown as it takes action against industrial polluters by shutting down, moving, or shifting the operations of certain factories, interrupting the production of feed additives including vitamins and sodium bicarbonate.
However, she points out, restrictions imposed by governments could also provide the catalyst for new innovations, similar to how the EU’s restrictions on antibiotic growth promoters provided the incentives for important steps forward in immunity, gut health, and similar topics. “Feed additives could perhaps help mitigate the impacts of heat stress on animals, or even reduce the methane production of livestock. Creative new fermentation solutions might replace vegetable protein grown in faraway countries…with things like single-cell protein or insect larvae, grown closer to where it’s being used.”
“Indeed, this could even be the challenge that transforms the Asian feed additives industry,” she concludes.