March 30, 2017

From feed to meat, Taiwan looks set to be a fertile ground for innovation


Commissioned by Taiwan's Council of Agriculture, the Agricultural Technology Research Institute (ATRI) led a delegation of eight promising, home-grown start-ups to participate in VIV Asia 2017 in Bangkok, Thailand.

Dr. Yang Cheng-Yao, Director of Animal Technology Laboratories at ATRI, told eFeedLink that the Institute acts as a bridge between academic R&D and Taiwan's agriculture industry, helping to transfer and commercialise research results for the global market.

He stressed that the concept of a Taiwan pavilion at VIV Asia provided collective power for the eight start-ups to showcase their innovative efforts at the event, and that all of them had their own products to be proud of, and were not just OEM or ODM manufacturers.

The eight companies were: TAQKEY Science Co., Ltd., which provides AGP alternatives; King's Ground Biotech Co., Ltd., which green bean extract products can lower the inflammatory response shown by diseased or stressed animals; Life Rainbow Biotech Co., Ltd., which natural animal health products can improve immune response and feed efficiency; Symlong Bio-Tech Co., Ltd., which has heat-resistant probiotics for use in livestock and aquaculture; Union Formosa Biochemistry Co., Ltd., which microbial fermentation extract products can help regulate the endocrine system; Chainwin Agriculture & Animal Technology (Cayman Islands) Ltd., which unique business model includes both animal health products and a farm management system; Li-Yuan Agricultural & Animal Husbandry Technology Corp., which has developed a fermented fertiliser production system from livestock waste which is more economical than conventional electricity generation from biogas, and more power-saving than barrel fermentation; China Chemical & Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., which provides a variety of veterinary products.

As could be seen, most of the eight companies have products to directly help customers reduce their use of antibiotics. "Their alternative products help improve animal health while not having the side effects of antibiotics, and of course remove the concern from end consumers of antibiotic residues. This concept of antibiotics from feed to food is fast catching up in Southeast Asia, and is already taking place in countries such as Vietnam," said Dr. Yang.

"Within Taiwan, we already have a very stringent meat production system with regard to antibiotics. The three key checkpoints, which the government regularly take samples from, are at the farm, slaughterhouse, and, marketplace. On top of that, within the past five years, we have cut the number of permitted AGPs from 22 to just 5," he added.

Dr. Yang also shared his confidence in Taiwan's swine and pork industry, with only the lingering concern of foot and mouth disease remaining a setback. "Taiwan's swine breeding system under sub-tropical conditions is unique, enabling the production of pork with unique characteristics. Before the outbreaks of FMD, Taiwanese fresh pork saw strong demand from countries such as Japan and South Korea. While we cannot export fresh pork now, we can still export processed meat. By the end of this year, we expect to receive from the OIE FMD-free status where vaccination is practised, and by 2020, we expect Taiwan to be declared FMD-free where vaccination is not practised," Dr. Yang said.

Besides home-grown meat and feed products, Dr. Yang also shared that some organisations in Taiwan are conducting research into free-range native chicken breeders for meat and egg production. "With environmental conditions in Taiwan being similar to those in Southeast Asia, we look forward to future collaboration to help transfer our successful protocols to other production systems in the region, not forgetting the niche markets for free-range native poultry throughout Southeast Asia."
Dr. Yang (second row from front, second from left) with representatives of the eight start-ups at VIV Asia
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