March 22, 2023
CCPA's Francois Pellet: A French cooperative in sync with agriculture's modern realities
An eFeedLink Exclusive Talk
1966 marks the most important year for French agriculture cooperative CCPA; in that time, six large French agriculture cooperatives laid the foundations of the organisation, with a mission to develop innovation and knowledge in livestock nutrition and farming.
This is the early history of CCPA, as told by its chief executive officer, Francois Pellet, to eFeedLink against the backdrop of VIV Asia 2023 in Bangkok, Thailand.
"Since that time, our purpose has not changed, and our daily obsession is to bring to our customers (feed millers, integrators and their farmers) nutritional solutions adapted to their needs in a fast-moving and competitive environment," Pellet says.
The long-term vision of CCPA shareholders prioritises "investments into research and innovation, modern and competitive production plants and high-skilled talents," he highlights. It is a decisive move that will raise value "for their own businesses than the short-term maximisation of dividends."
Pellet shares more about CCPA in this wide-ranging interview.
CCPA has more than 50 years of history and prides itself on not "being driven only by the profitability of its business" as it is a cooperative. Please tell us more about this operational model.
Francois Pellet: Our board members are farmers who also have board responsibilities in our six founding cooperatives. They are involved daily in the strategy and supervision of integrated livestock businesses of their cooperatives, and at the same time, they run their own farms. This is a unique advantage of CCPA as they know better than anybody else what the issues of the livestock sector are from technical, economic, or regulatory standpoints. Having such shareholders is a guarantee that we don't lose touch with reality and develop relevant solutions for farmers.
Today, most of CCPA's business is done with parties who are not our usual shareholders and outside of France.
All our customers benefit from our culture which is rooted in our history: we cooperate transparently with customers; we are anchored in the farms' reality; we believe in science and share openly our know-how and innovation with our partners.
Industries and organisations have suffered the serious impact of COVID over the past years. How has CCPA weathered the challenges?
Francois Pellet: CCPA has implemented sound safety and biosecurity policies to protect employees and ensure that our plants and laboratories continue their operations in the best interest of our customers.
I can proudly say that the CCPA team has contributed to the continuity and reliability of the food chain in all countries where we operate.
CCPA has also taken initiatives to reinforce the resilience of our supply chain: we have reinforced our logistic capabilities; we have increased our safety stocks level; and we have strengthened long-term partnerships with key suppliers.
Consequently, we have been a reliable supplier.
Being a mid-size company gives us the opportunity to be agile while having the necessary skills and resources to tackle a crisis in an efficient manner.
We understand that CCPA will be launching "Become 2025," the cooperative's new strategic plan. Please describe the chief goals and aims of "Become 2025" and its potential impact on the Asia-Pacific livestock and feed market.
Francois Pellet: The chief goal of the plan is to adapt the company to an ever-changing environment and consequently to the ever-changing needs of our customers – doing so will enable CCPA to thrive and continue its success story.
What do we want to become? By building on our people, culture and values, we want to offer a better customer experience to support the livestock sector in its quest for competitiveness and sustainability and to become more international. Innovation and digitalisation will play an important role in this path.
This strategic plan will have a positive impact on the Asia-Pacific livestock and feed market: we want to reinforce our presence in Asia as we believe that the solutions and innovations developed by CCPA and implemented in our core European, Mexican and Middle-East markets are relevant as well for Asian customers. Solutions have been created for relevant issues including heat stress management, feed efficiency, reduction of meat/milk/ eggs production costs, nutritional value of alternative raw materials and gut microflora regulation.
By strengthening our presence in Asia, CCPA will increase its resilience by being less dependent on the European market.
Please tell us about the history of CCPA's activities in the Asia-Pacific livestock and feed market.
Francois Pellet: Since 2018, CCPA's activities in Asia gained traction when we opened our offices in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, to work closer with our customers.
The team there has grown and now we are recognised as one of the most reliable nutritional solution providers supporting milk production in large dairy operations in Vietnam. We have numerous successful cases in the monogastric segment as well.
As for our offering, we provide a combination of nutritional expertise and services, proprietary feed additives and, when necessary, liquid or water-soluble farm specialties.
We are now covering most countries in the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia and North Asia (excluding China), either through our network of distribution partners or through a direct approach.
What do you see are the challenges that the Asia-Pacific livestock and feed industry faces?
Francois Pellet: The sanitary challenges experienced in the region halted the development we were seeing before the pandemic.
Biosecurity measures have been put in place in farms but prevention measures should be included as well as the continuous training of staff and strengthening of animal resilience and immunity through proper nutrition. In these matters, CCPA has the innovative phyto-solutions and knowledge.
Raw materials cost and availability are also other challenges. CCPA shares its deep knowledge in the areas of raw materials value, nutritional requirements of animals, and the utilisation of feed additives to optimise feed conversion ratio and meat/milk/egg production cost.
Globally, the sustainability of the livestock sector is being pressured, and customers need to reinvent how feeds are formulated and the genetic potential of animals is fully utilised.
Building on its experience in European markets and its knowledge of Asian conditions, CCPA can support integrators who want to address this challenge and reduce the carbon impact of their farming operations.
In general, our mission is to engage our know-how with passion for the competitiveness and sustainability of the livestock sector.
We believe that competitiveness and sustainability are real challenges for Asian integrators and farmers, as they are in other parts of the world. We also believe that our know-how and innovations can help the Asian livestock industry to tackle these challenges.
Consequently, we want to become a significant player in the region by providing our premix, feed solutions, functional ingredients and farm specialties to the market. To reach this goal, we will need to reinforce significantly our human and industrial capabilities in Asia and create new partnerships.
We noted CCPA's use of digital tools to collect farm data and produce dashboards in real time. Please tell us more about the digitalisation aspect of the cooperative.
Francois Pellet: CCPA is indeed one of the most advanced nutrition companies when it comes to farm digitalisation: we have developed the know-how on sensors, the Internet of Things and real-time data collection from poultry, swine and dairy farms.
We provide real-time decision-making tools (dashboards and animal performance prediction systems) to farm managers and production managers of integrators. We are currently deploying these digital tools to our French and European customers under the Farm E-val brand.
Asian customers are open to such innovations, but the implementation of these digital solutions requires a significant level of resources, training and follow-up.
In Vietnam, there are already some customers involved in advanced stages of discussion concerning the deployment of some of our digital solutions. For sure, we want to offer these tools to more integrators in Thailand, India and other countries but it will be done gradually.
What is CCPA's agenda for this year's VIV Asia?
Francois Pellet: We have two booths at the show: one is a CCPA booth and the other one is a Novation booth. Novation is our Spanish subsidiary that specialises in functional ingredients, and among these products is an effective and competitive butyrate product called Butirex C4.
Our Asian team, supported by colleagues from Europe, is available to welcome our customers and introduce to them our latest innovations and knowledge.
As part of our growth agenda, we want to take advantage of VIV Asia to initiate new contacts with customers interested in our nutrition know-how and phyto-expertise.
We also hope to meet potential partners motivated to introduce our innovations to new countries or market segments.
- Terry Tan, eFeedLink