Alltech Asia: Creating a Planet of Plenty from a dynamic region
"To create a more abundant world, we must collaborate across industries and geographies, and discover, test and apply new ideas," once said Dr. Mark Lyons, president and CEO of Alltech, at the 2019 ONE: The Alltech Ideas Conference, where he revealed the new vision for the company - "Working Together for a Planet of PlentyTM". This vision brings new possibilities to Alltech's guiding ACE principle, introduced by the company's founder, the late Dr. Pearse Lyons, more than 30 years ago.

Lyons had then recently handed over the helm of president of Greater China to Jonathan Wilson, who has led industrial businesses and agribusinesses throughout the Asia-Pacific and Oceania region for the past 25 years.

"ACE means doing things that improve the health of the animal, protect and preserve the environment, while benefiting the consumer. This concept has since remained in our DNA," highlights Jonathan Wilson, now president of Asia at Alltech, in an interview with LIVESTOCK & FEED Business.

While Alltech continues to stay true to its guiding principle over the years, Wilson has witnessed first-hand the dynamic changes within the Asia region, such as the significant internationalisation of Chinese companies since 1995 when he decided to relocate to Asia. He sees a lot of lessons and parallels that can be drawn across the region.
"One thing which stands out in Alltech is that we have the ability to stay connected and connect things. Knowledge, opportunities, customers, are shared in the region. Mark Lyons then decided to put all Asian countries, including Greater China, in the same region to increase speed and coverage of sharing," Wilson underscores.

And since Wilson was tasked to lead the Greater China region in 2019, he had only seen growing consolidation in the pork and poultry sectors, and further integration within individual agribusinesses, in the large and important market.

Consumer preferences matter

The consolidation extends to the consumer end, and some of Alltech's clients, Wilson cites, sell food products in the supermarket, and are hugely conscious of the rising importance of consumer preferences.

To that end, Alltech China conducts egg, meat and milk quality surveys with consumers to understand their preferences.

"We see increasing demand from our customers who want to differentiate themselves with safe, nutritionally enriched foods. Our surveys study the consumer's perception of food quality attributes such as taste, colour, drip loss, and eggshell quality, and market benchmarks are generated from the results so that customers know where they stand in the market. We also work with industry associations who are focussed on the consumer side, such as the China Animal Health and Food Safety Alliance," says Wilson.

Pointing out that in the Asia region there is "no real standard on pork quality", Wilson adds that Alltech hopes to establish such a standard. "We collect fresh and frozen pork from the market for quality analysis. We've discovered that the best ones use Alltech Total Replacement TechnologyTM (TRT). TRT is a groundbreaking approach to mineral nutrition. TRT can be carried out by the inclusion of organic trace minerals in the form of Bioplex® and Sel-Plex® at significantly lower levels in the diet, and still meet the demands of the modern animal. TRT not only improves the efficiency of swine production but also create positive impacts on pork quality, and the environment," he elaborates.

In the dairy sector, one food company that Alltech Asia closely collaborates with, Nestle, is worth mentioning.

In China, Alltech partnered with Nestle when the latter set up its DFI (Dairy Farming Institute) in Heilongjiang province, China in 2014. Wilson highlights: "The partnership is a great example of how our founder Dr. Pearse Lyons believed we should do business, where collaboration is everything, and for Alltech it is about knowledge exchange and bringing the latest technology to the Chinese context of dairy farming, with other industry stakeholders, with the aim of raising the quality and efficiency of dairy production in China."

And in India and Indonesia, Alltech supports Nestle by helping dairy farmers improve their feed and milk quality, such as through Alltech's mycotoxin management programmes.

Sustainability is key to creating a Planet of Plenty

A key focus of the work at DFI is on sustainability, to support Nestle's goal to become carbon neutral by 2050. Alltech's recent products Yea-Sacc® & Optigen®, are applied at the DFI, and were certified by the Carbon Trust to reduce agriculture's carbon footprint. Alltech also has a company E-CO2 which goes on farm to provide quantitative measurements and a proactive plan to mitigate carbon and methane emissions.

"One of the biggest trends we have seen in 2020 is that clients all around the world are talking about sustainability, not how expensive it would be for them but how to implement sustainable practices. There is a realisation that sustainable practices not only have beneficial impact on their bottom line, but also allows them to better reach out to consumers. This is the first time we have seen positive momentum and engagement around the concept of agricultural sustainability, and people are taking a collaborative approach," shares Wilson.

Perhaps this quote by Dr. Mark Lyons best sums up what the industry can look forward to from Alltech moving into 2021 and beyond: "Our personal journeys will be unique and diverse, but if we work together, our destination can be the same: a Planet of Plenty in which there is enough nutritious food for all, the world's resources are responsibly managed for future generations and the environment is safe for people, animals and plants to thrive in harmony."

- Ngai Meng CHAN

An edited version of this article is published in the upcoming March issue of LIVESTOCK & FEED Business.

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