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Weekly Overview: Sustainable Production without Antibiotics?

18 March 2013

ANALYSIS - The challenges facing us to feed the growing human population are immense but the aim simply has to be achieved. Whether this can be done sustainably make these challenges greater still; new technology will be required, for sure, but what is the future for antibiotics for farm livestock? Also in the news are increasing consolidation in the Russian pig industry as well as reports from the VIV Asia trade show last week.

As the global population grows to an expected nine billion people by 2050, the need to produce more food and energy with less pollution is becoming more and more critical.

In some areas of the world such as sub-Saharan Africa, farmers struggle to find enough nutrients in the soil for crops and pasture. In other areas such as the rapidly developing areas of South and East Asia there is a problem with overuse of nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus.

A new report prepared by the Global Partnership on Nutrient Management in collaboration with the International Nitrogen Initiative, Our Nutrient World, gives a global overview on nutrient management.

Consumer perceptions of how livestock are reared for meat have been shaped by misconceptions and misunderstanding.

Inflamed by hyped media reports about disease outbreaks, malpractice in the meat and livestock sectors and fears over food safety, many consumers believe that food animals and meat are full of medicines, antibiotics and growth hormones.

According to research by the market analysis group, IGD, about 72 per cent of consumers believe that medicines and vaccinations are getting into the food chain.

Speaking at a recent conference organised by the industry body, the National Office for Animal Health, Michael Freedman, IGD Shopper Insight Manager, said that while the majority of consumers recognise that veterinary medicines are used in the production of livestock for food, most are either unaware or do not understand the difference between their preventative use or their curative use.

Also in the news in this last week are the challenges being experienced by the Russian pig meat sector are likely to accelerate the consolidation of a fragmented pork industry, according to a report by the credit ratings company, Moody's.

The consolidation will allow the leading producers to gain market share from the smaller farmers forcing them out of the market.

According to the Russia's Ministry of Agriculture, the number of pigs raised on domestic farms fell by 665,000 last year, indicating that smaller players may be already exiting the market, the report's author, Sergei Grishunin said.

Mr Grishunin told ThePigSite that the larger producers are also better protected against the effects of African Swine Fever and the potential the disease has to hit production and profits.

Last but not least, senior editor, Jackie Linden, was in Bangkok, Thailand for the VIV Asia 2013 trade show last week. With exhibitors and likely also visitor numbers up significantly from the previous show two years ago and a strong conference programme, there was plenty to keep us busy!

Four reports are already up on ThePigSite: Animal Protein Professionals Unite at Top Industry Event, Animal Health Summit Sets Direction for Safe and Healthy Production, VIV Asia Opening Ceremony and UK Trade Delegation Targets Agri-Technology Markets in Asia.

Jackie Linden

Jackie Linden

Top image via Shutterstock

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