July 9, 2015


'Will there be enough protein meals?'



It has all too often been said that as the world population and the ranks of the new prosperous grow, so does the demand for practically everything, especially food, particularly, as far as the agri sector is concerned, meat, fish and dairy.


Consequently the demand for feed and all that goes into its manufacture also increases. Thus, according to one of the latest reports of agricultural lender Rabobank, the demand for vegetable protein meals for use in animal feed has increased (due to global demand for meat, fish and dairy). And, of course, it has rightly predicted that this trend will likely continue until the next decade.


But the question is, according to Rabobank, can the supply of vegetable meals keep up with the rising demand for animal feed? If it can, how will it be able to keep up with the demand?


Rabobank sees in the horizon a longer-term trend of relative scarcity in protein meals and bouts of price volatility.


Under this situation, according to Rabobank Food & Agribusiness senior analyst Clara van der Elst, companies can position themselves effectively by:


-- Securing access to protein feed in the long term;

-- Developing alternative protein supplies; and

-- Continually enhancing feed conversion efficiently.


As a result, they will experience less volatility or high prices, she said.




Rabobank also said that the balance between vegetable meal supply and demand could experience pressures depending on the quantity of harvests--droughts, for example, are a concern as they could cause declines.


However, it contends that an actual "gap" between protein meal demand and supply will never materialise as the market responds to higher prices that result from demand starting to increase faster than supply.


To deal with the opportunities and risks presented by these supply-demand issues surrounding vegetable protein meals, Rabobank recommends that food and agribusiness companies step up their R&D or improve technology in areas such as crop yield, feed formulation, feed conversion and alternative feed protein.


Another is that they should forge closer alliances and perhaps merge with other companies operating in adjacent steps of the supply chain.


Protein is important especially for young animals, which need it while they grow their muscles and other parts of the body. Very young ruminants also need good-quality protein until the rumen (the first compartment of the stomach) develops sufficiently. Likewise, additional amounts of protein are needed in the feed of animals producing milk and eggs, but all other animals require a small amount of protein for maintenance including the daily repair of muscles, internal organs and other body tissues. --Rick Alberto

Video >

Follow Us