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133.6kg/capita – Setting a global benchmark for feed production — Roger Gilbert

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Roger Gilbert was invited to participate on the recent round of VIV Roadshows, speaking in Abuja, Nigeria at the beginning of January 2014 and more recently at the IPPE’s VIV Pig Production Summit USA. His topic was: ‘The role of a robust compound feed to meet the needs of a growing world population’ and based on survey results from Alltech’s feed survey showing world production in 2013 at 963 million tonnes. 

Roger Gilbert

Roger Gilbert

Looking at production statistics and population figures in isolation does not provide us with a clear view of where we have come from and where we are likely to end up in a world that is being challenged to feed itself adequately.

Static figures do not encourage us to address issues that are looming.
I’m of the view that information is knowledge, knowledge brings responsibility, and together provides us with influence and power to bring about change. If we ‘know’ we have a responsibility to ‘act’.

Nigeria represents one of the few countries on the planet that is adding substantially and significantly to its population base. In the next decade it is projected by the US Census Bureau to add 50 million people to its current 177 million population base and by 2050 challenge the USA for the third most populated country at just under 400 million people! It’s an issue that our industry, and the food industry in general – both in Nigeria and globally – will have to address.

Nigeria is just one example, an extreme one, of what is likely to happen in developing countries over the next 35 years.

However, there is good news for Africa. From the FAO, and surveying the first 12 years of the 21st century, Africa IS increasing its production of foodstuffs faster than anywhere else on the planet. The area being harvested is increasing at twice the rate of that of any other region while two regions – the Americas and Europe – show no increase in area harvested at all.

Product quality is also improving at the fastest rate in this region while yield increases are matching those being achieved in the America and Asia.

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Nigeria population growth

While world food production growth is increasing on average at 2.1 percent per year, Africa is moving ahead at 3.5 percent – and Nigeria is in amongst the countries achieve these higher-than-average increases.

Food consumption per capita based on an index of 2004-06, shows Africa achieving the fastest and most sustained growth rising from 78kg/head to 117kg/head since 1992.

As we are addressing compound feed production it is interesting to see what is happening to the consumption of meat and eggs. Total food supply has doubled in that period to 1.4 million tonnes and per capita consumption of meat up from 7.4kg/head to almost 9kg/head.

That in fact, highlights the next point I wish to make. How can ‘meat’ supply double yet per head consumption rise by less than 20%? The answer is straightforward – population increase. And that is why grams/day consumption of ‘meat’ products (in protein and fat terms) has largely stagnated in Nigeria since 1997.

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Nigeria population growth

By comparison world food supply has also shown a steady upward trend, increasing by almost 1/5th over a 20 year period.

However, in contrast to that, world per capita consumption has fallen from a high of 151kg on average to 146.5kg. No much you might think in terms of total weight, but the additional population over that period is having an impact and we are likely to see this downward trend continue.

And based on consumption per person, the supply of protein in our diets is showing a steady decline as well. On average we are consuming a gram less protein per person per day. Again not significant you might think, but highlights an ongoing tend that can only accelerate.

Fat consumption on the other hand remains relatively unchanged, at between 5.9-6g/head per day. Possibly reflecting the tremendous increase in palm production throughout Asia over recent decades.

Population pyramids

I want to show here how developing country populations are going to increase – again based on figures from the US Census Bureau. I have compared them to the country I live in – the UK – for comparison. You’ll notice that Nigeria has a wider population base compared to the UK (which given the total difference in numbers, is only natural). Also, the UK shows a ‘bulge’ in the 40-60 year olds groups due in part to the baby boomers following the Second World War. What is also evident is the increased number of people living longer in the UK than their counterparts in Nigeria.

As we move ahead through time – to 2030 – the Nigerian population base has widened by an additional 8-10 million births in the 0-4 age group (with a total of 38 million) while the shape of the pyramid remains the same; and with no more people living longer. In the UK on the other hand the population base has remained largely unchanged while even more people are living longer.

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World food supply

Finally, by 2050, the year in which it’s calculated the world will reach 9.5 billion people on the planet, and before stabalising at around 10 billion for the remainder of the century, Nigeria, while maintaining its pyramid shape, will once more see its population base expand, this time adding almost 70 million people in one-to-four year olds!  Again the UK is largely unchanged with a static population base.

These are in general the two key trends that differenciate between today’s developed countries and those ‘developing’.

Global feed production

I’m basing my comments on the latest Alltech Survey 2013 which provides output figures up until December 2013: the most comprehensive available for our industry worldwide and which we should be grateful to have.

The world currently manufacturers annually just under a billion metric tonnes of compounded or formulated animal feed. These feed statistics were collected by 600 Alltech staff from 130 countries involving 28,196 feedmills. Note: Numbers for less developed countries may be less accurate; but that will have little influence on overall dataset.

The top 10 countries in descending order of output are: China, USA, Brazil, Mexico, Spain, India, Russia, Japan, Germany and France which account for 611 million tonnes or two-thirds of world production.

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global feed
production 2013

Poultry, which includes layers, broilers, turkeys and others, account for 444.4 million tonnes of feeds while pigs account for 242.8 million tonnes and ruminants – dairy, beef, calves and others – 195.6 million tonnes.

Key survey findings include:

  • China leading producer at 189 million tons
  • Asia leading overall region with 348 million
  • US and Brazil 2nd and 3rd largest countries
  • Africa fastest growing region; up 7%
  • Middle East has largest feed mills by annual production

Other key findings:

  • Poultry still the leading species
  • 46% of all feed is poultry feed, 61% of that is for broilers
  • 444.4 million tons fed to poultry worldwide
  • Aqua experienced fastest growth up 17% over 2012 – exceeded 40 million tons.
  • Pig feed production increased 11% (esp. China)
  • Pet food up slightly, Equine up 14%
  • Ruminant feed production declined 20%
  • Decline in both Beef and Dairy
  • Able to switch to forages when grain prices high
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Global feed production 2013

The 16 important countries in terms of feed production are ranked in the bar chart above because I want to make the point that countries producing more feed do not necessarily have more feedmills. In fact, this chart is ranked by countries on the left with the least feed mills to the most on the right. And what is really interesting is that the average production from feedmills is not too dissimilar between countries and between regions at 30,000-60,000 tonnes per year.

A developing country’s prospects

Nigeria ranks 54 out of the 133 countries surveyed, in terms of total formulated feed production at 1.9 million tonnes (this does not include home-produced feeds or feeding straights or unformulated feeds). I’d like to extrapolate some figures from the information presented and raise a question or two for you to ponder.

  1. What are the populations of other countries producing a similar amount of feed to Nigeria?
  2. How much feed is being produced by those countries with similar populations?

The reason I ask these questions is that I believe there is a correlation between the volume of compound feed produced in a country and the ability of that country to feed its population adequately.

And I have identified a ‘benchmark’ that I believe all countries need to exceed in order to claim they are providing the nutritional requirements for their populations.

As FAO and other UN organisations, including their associated NGOs, demonstrate safe and affordable food supply is not the responsibility of those with commercial interests alone to fulfill; there is a need for governments to assume responsibility in ensuring food is produced in volumes that are safe and affordable for all.

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Global feed production 2013

Here, I show Nigeria’s total population in 2014 alongside the volume in tonnes of its compound feed production (just under 2 million tonnes). I’ve compared that to other countries producing approximately two million tonnes of compound feed and show here the populations those countries feed.

If my proposal has any substance, then the people of Bosnia will be enjoying a healthy diet of livestock and fish products than their counterparts in Sweden or Czech Republic. Or they are enjoying healthier incomes from export sales.

When comparing Nigeria’s 177 million population of today with similarly populated countries we can compare their compound feed production; it is quickly evident that Nigeria is faring no better than Bangladesh and is a long way behind a country like Brazil.

For every Nigerian to enjoy the ‘world average’ supply of animal proteins based on compound feed, then the Nigerian Feed Industry has to rise to the challenge and lift production from 1.9 million tonnes to 23.6 million tonnes annually: over a 10-fold increase on what it is producing now.
Give our industry a chance

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Top ten countries

I believe that scientifically-formulated compound feeds offer the solution to this world feeding itself adequately by 2050.

We not only have to meet the future needs of humans arriving on the planet, but we also have to meet the needs of those wanting to improve their diets as they become more economically advanced. On top of that we have to address the one billion people FAO tells us are receiving less food than is required to sustain themselves. That figure has not been diminishing, but increasing in recent years.

You may not believe that growing livestock and fish for protein is the way forward however, growing and consuming cereals and crops has not proven to be the complete answer either. Livestock and fish have many advantages in the production of protein for human consumption over grains and cereals (which we cannot go into here) and we should give this industry a chance to prove itself as it offers huge utilization and conversion efficiencies yet to be fully realized.

Unless we measure where we are we cannot set meaningful ‘benchmarks’ for ourselves or our industry for the future.

Alltech’s figures are the first comprehensive figures the industry has on just how much compounded feed is being produced and used. Based on these figures and our current world population, I put it to you that each country must set an annual benchmark that sees every citizen having access to food that is based on 133.6kg/head of scientifically-formulated compound feed.

After all, that’s the world average and every country should be striving to be equal to or rise above the average in terms of supplying safe and affordable food to its people.

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