June 14, 2024


FEFAC held 68th edition of Annual Public Annual Meeting in Brussels, Belgium


The European Feed Manufacturers' Federation (FEFAC) recently held its 68th Annual Public Annual Meeting in Brussels, Belgium, on May 31.


The event was attended by 121 participants.


The main theme of this year's Public Annual Meeting was "How to boost EU feed autonomy and strengthen Circularity of the EU feed and livestock sector?" in the context of the new EU Strategic Agenda 2024–2029. The programme featured keynote contributions from Pierre Bascou, DG AGRI's acting deputy director general, and Patrick Pagani, Copa-Cogeca's deputy secretary general, as well as two panel sessions focusing on EU feed protein autonomy and reductions of carbon emissions in the livestock sector.


Bascou highlighted the continued commitments of the European Commission to boosting transparency of the feed protein import dependency as well as the potential for feeding strategy solutions as part of the review of its EU protein policy.


Pagani welcomed the more constructive political environment for discussions with farmers on how to tackle sustainability issues. He called on support from the feed sector by providing innovative solutions to the EU livestock sector that can boost circularity and help achieve climate neutrality by 2050.


For the first session, focusing on the announced EU Protein Report as part of the EU Open Strategic Autonomy's objectives for the EU agri-food chain, André Negreiros, Central and Eastern Europe Business Leader at CORTEVA Agriscience, emphasised the urgent need for the European Union to accelerate support for the development of protein crops suited to its environment to enhance EU self-sufficiency. He called for a swift movement towards adopting new technologies, including New Genomic Techniques (NGTs), while also underscoring the importance of setting realistic self-sufficiency goals and acknowledging the necessity of trade-offs, such as potentially reducing other cereal cultivation when focusing on protein crops.


In the discussion segment of the event, Patricia De Clercq (Belgian EU Council Presidency) pointed to recent discussions at the EU Agricultural Ministers informal council, where ministers exchanged views on the necessity of integrating various elements of the protein plan at the EU level.


Birthe Steenberg, AVEC's secretary general, welcomed discussions on increased sustainability in EU poultry production, pointing to the four key commitments of the AVEC sustainability charter. She also emphasised the need to maintain cost-effective poultry production, as consumers' willingness to pay more for sustainability and animal welfare is very limited.


Erik Wibholm, senior managing director (oilseeds) at Cargill, emphasised the economic and environmental benefits of importing 30 million tonnes of soy into the EU, given the region's limited production capacity, including for alternative protein sources.


Pierre Bascou highlighted the essential role of the EU livestock industry in the food system and its positive externalities, stressing the need for innovative practices. Pedro Cordero, FEFAC's president, underscored the feed industry's commitment to advancing circular economy principles through the effective utilisation of co-products.


In the second session that was dedicated to key market and regulatory drivers to increase circularity and reduce carbon emissions, Christian Holzleitner, Head of Unit at DG CLIMA, highlighted the need for the agriculture sector to make further efforts in carbon emissions reductions and removals. He stressed the European Commission's objective to integrate the livestock sector into the carbon certification framework by 2025 while exploring the possibilities for emissions trading in the agricultural sector, as part of the effort to stimulate the uptake of innovative business solutions.


Annick Pleysier, Head of EMEA Public Affairs, Science and Sustainability (Crop Science Division) at BAYER, and Severine Deschandelliers, FEFANA's President, pointed to necessary improvements in the regulatory framework that would remove hurdles to increase investments in innovative farmers "toolbox" solutions (specifically, seeds, plant protection products and feed additives).


Alexander Romme, EFFPA's president, raised awareness of the solutions former foodstuffs can deliver to both increased circularity and reduced carbon emissions in livestock farming, calling for consistency across EU sectoral policies to ensure nutritional feed resources are not diverted to biomethane production.


FEFAC president Pedro Cordero said: "It is clear that the feed sector has a crucial role to play in supporting a vibrant European livestock sector that can improve its performance on elements such as reduced, strategic import dependencies, reduced carbon emissions and increased circularity. FEFAC, therefore presented its 12 key recommendations for the EU Strategic Agenda 2024-2029 regarding the livestock sector to the Belgian EU Council Presidency."



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