March 21, 2009


China's feed output grows in 2008 despite melamine scandal


China's animal feed production increased 10 percent last year to a new record of 137 million tonnes, despite the melamine scandal, according to a Ministry of Agriculture official on Friday (Mar 20).


The Ministry is still investigating the impact of melamine on livestock and the maximum amount that can be allowed in feed, said Wang Xiaohong, a division chief with the ministry's feed office.


The ministry will most likely announce the results in the first half of 2009, Wang said.


Late last year, milk contaminated with melamine were associated with the deaths of six children and illnesses in tens of thousands others. The industrial chemical was also found in eggs and feed, indicating a widespread contamination in the food chain.


However, the feed market has bounced back quickly as production grows beyond expectations, reflecting that China's feed output has entered into a steady growth period after restructuring of the industry, Wang said.


Feed for pigs contributed mainly to the growth due to Beijing's subsidies in pig breeding.


A number of banned drugs have been discovered in animal feed in recent years, including the latest case in Guangzhou where 70 people were poisoned by pork from animals fed with banned drugs.


Wang said the ministry is working on standards to regulate the use of feed additives.


There are more than 30 ingredients in feed composition, each at excessive levels can pose potential risks, Wang said, adding that the ministry will ask local governments and company managers to share more responsibility in enforcing feed quality controls.


A feed industry restructuring in 2007 phased out 2,000 small mills and left 13,000 mills by the end of 2008, but many are still small-scale feed mills with only 13 mills that have an annual production of more than 1 million tonnes.


Wang said China's population growth will continue to support feed production, but the increasing number of job loss among migrant farmers and outbreaks of bird flu in January have led to a fall in meat consumption.

Video >

Follow Us