September 17, 2004



Asia To Overtake Europe In Animal Feed Production

European meat producers are likely to find themselves increasingly threatened by continuing growth in Asia and America, an international animal feed consultant warned yesterday.


Within 20 years, he said, Asia will move from third place behind the Americas and Europe to become the undisputed leader in animal feed production.


This will be fuelled by a combination of demographic changes and population growth, increased personal disposable income as well as changes in eating habits, with a move towards more animal protein consumption.


Speaking at Nottingham University, Dr Paul Meggison said that there were still opportunities for British and other European countries to get a share in this growing market. But he warned that "most of the cherries had already been picked".


He said that against the success of a few companies, such as Grampian Country Food Group which had established a poultry unit in Thailand, most had failed by being unaware of cultural differences, poor communications and lack of commitment. Only by linking up with local business groups could others hope to achieve some level of success, he said.


But while Brazil and Argentina have been intent on increasing beef and poultry production to gain an increased share of the world market, Meggison sees the Asian increase as a way of satisfying home demand.


"Notwithstanding net imports of livestock products into high population-density Asian markets such as Singapore, Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong, there are strong indications of increasing self-sufficiency in livestock production within the region, especially if Australia is added.


"This will clearly place pressure on meat-product exports from nations such as Denmark, the Netherlands, Brazil, the US and Canada."


The reported discovery of three cases of BSE in meat from the US and Canada, as well as British and Dutch foot-and-mouth disease problems, had a devastating effect on export opportunities to Asia.


While "rich pickings" for European investment in the feed industries in most Asian countries had long gone, Meggison said there were still opportunities for co-operation in the production and sale of speciality feeds, feed additives and micro-nutrients.


"Commodities such as feed grains, protein meals, by- products and fats and oils will also see intermittent demand, depending on price and local supply."