DuPont Asia Pacific: Driving forward key developments for customers
This year DuPont Animal Nutrition marked important developments including the launch of a new phytase Axtra® PHY GOLD, the opening of a new manufacturing facility in Wuxi, China, and the collaboration with Proteon Pharmaceuticals to bring bacteriophage technology to poultry producers. At the same time, being in the COVID-19 situation which many of us identify with, DuPont experienced some unprecedented fluctuations in demand. At the peak of the pandemic, consumer meat demands fell by 20-25% in some countries in the Asia Pacific region due to a combination of various lockdowns and the closure of many restaurants and hotels, tells Surendra Bade, regional industry leader ASPAC Animal Nutrition, DuPont, in an interview with eFeedLink. Against the challenges, the company has been able to keep its service levels intact due to the commitment of its operations and supply chain teams.

Surendra Bade, regional industry leader ASPAC Animal Nutrition, DuPont

"During this unprecedented time, we recognised that it was more important than ever for our customers to reduce feed and production costs, while also maintaining or improving animal performance. With this in mind, we adapted our ways of working to ensure we maintained close customer contact. Online workshops, training and technical discussions helped to strengthen customer engagement, while our application and technical service developed much-needed practical solutions," explains Bade.

And despite the considerable challenges presented by COVID-19, the company continues to drive key developments forward.

In June this year, DuPont launched the novel phytase enzyme AxtraPHY GOLD, first in the United States, Mexico and India, which was to be followed by other world regions.In Asia Pacific, it was an exciting launch going by the customer response and the performance the company is seeing, says Bade."We cater to customers across all countries in Asia Pacific, including China, North Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Australia and New Zealand. Axtra PHY GOLD delivers greater performance and feed cost savings for producers; it offers market-leading thermostability under a wide range of pelleting conditions. Axtra PHY GOLD's sustainability value is also attracting the attention of animal protein producers.

Particularly for the Asia Pacific market where raw material availability, quality and costs can vary, the new phytase offers unprecedented flexibility and consistency of performance to manage these input challenges, adds Bade."Thermostability and cost-in-use have a direct impact on total costs, while the phosphorus efficiency and impact on CO2 are becoming increasingly important sustainability drivers for our customers. Making more sustainable use of available land in Asia is critical to the industry."

Then in August DuPont announced the opening of its new manufacturing (blending) facility in Wuxi, China, marking a major step forward for both its business and customers in the country. It offers world-class quality with local customisation according to DuPont's global quality standards and advanced technology. "The facility allows us to improve the flexibility of our service by offering a wider range of offerings responding to local needs, e.g. customised packing sizes. It also gives us the capability to launch an even greater number of new products from our global R&D pipeline to support the evolving needs of our customers in the Chinese animal nutrition market," shares Bade.

Elsewhere, DuPont recently expanded the capabilities of its Shanghai (China) and Hyderabad (India) Animal Nutrition Applications & Technical Service Laboratories. "Our local technical capabilities allow us to respond with sophisticated solutions to dynamic market conditions and customer needs – particularly considering African swine fever and COVID-19," highlights Bade.

Most recently in September DuPont announced a collaboration with Proteon Pharmaceuticals to bring emerging bacteriophage technology to poultry producers.

"It's a key part of our strategy to strengthen DuPont's gut health solutions for the poultry industry and further mitigate antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Our new offering complements our Enviva® and Syncra® range of gut health products, and fits well with our biotechnology focus, " Bade underscores.

He adds: "For the Asia Pacific region, this collaboration is positive news because here - just like elsewhere around the world — producers are under growing pressure from governments and consumers to phase out the use of antibiotics due to the AMR risk."

In the recent annual report on the European Surveillance of Veterinary Antimicrobial Consumption (ESVAC) published by European Medicines Agency (EMA), overall sales of veterinary antibiotics in European countries dropped by more than 34% between 2011 and 2018.

Closer to the Asia Pacific region, some countries, such as China and Indonesia, have already started to implement policies relating to the reduction or elimination of antibiotic growth promoters (AGPs) and/or antibiotics in feed and farming operations, shares Bade, adding that consumer-driven demand and the regulatory requirements of global export markets means that Asia Pacific is expected to follow a similar trend as the EU.

"There is an urgent need to find alternative strategies which also address wider issues such as farming conditions, environmental concerns, processing conditions, transportation facilities, and the long distances between sites -all of which bring additional challenges in terms of hygiene and safety. That's why we believe the use of bacteriophages as part of our suite of solutions offers growers another opportunity to help mitigate AMR," stresses Bade.

He says that the technology fits well with DuPont's nutribiotic approach - a concept used to describe the interaction between nutrition, microbiome, the gut and immune function - and is the way forward. It is an area the company believes will prove highly influential in the context of improving livestock performance, welfare and gut health through tailored feed strategies. Accordingly, the company has expanded its application labs in Asia with specific microbiology equipment, expertise and services. 

Beyond COVID-19, while understanding the challenges that its customers face, DuPont also recognises that the choices it makes today, big and small, will impact our world tomorrow.

For example, Bade shares that the plant-based eating trend has created new opportunities which are being explored by the appropriate DuPont business. It has also led to a re-evaluation of meat consumption in terms of safety and health.

"However, per capita meat consumption in developing countries is growing rapidly and is expected to continue this trajectory over the next few years. So, we believe that there is room and opportunity for both traditional meat and plant-based categories to grow. Whichever protein source the consumer chooses, DuPont is working to help produce it in a sustainable way," says Bade.

In the broader context of global sustainability, DuPont's products are developed to balance sustainable goals with feed efficiency, animal performance, and welfare. "It's an approach inspired by the UN Sustainable Development Goals in the 2030 Agenda, and one which is embedded in everything we do as a business and for our customers," concludes Bade.

- Ngai Meng CHAN

DuPont's commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals in the 2030 Agenda

    •  Reducing CO2 emissions by using effective enzyme combinations 

    •  Reducing phosphorus and ammonia emissions from animal excreta

    •  Using more by-products (non-edible products) to replace edible grains

    •  Providing gut health solutions to reduce dependence on antibiotics; contributing to the fight against antimicrobial resistance (AMR)

    •  Reducing water consumption through better use of technology

    •  Reducing waste from animal production

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