The Raghavan Report Asia’s Food Future: A Fresh Perspective by Raghavan (‘Ragha’) Sampathkumar To say 2016 was an eventful year would really be an understatement not just for the Americans but for the world. Among several key developments, as a food and agribusiness professional, I list the following as my favorites. First, the humble grain got glorified as the IR8 rice variety celebrated its 50th anniversary. Hailed “the miracle rice”, IR8 helped prevent famine-induced deaths in the 1960s and brought millions of Asians out of acute hunger. Still rice contributes close to four fifths of all calories consumed by over four billion Asians. However, as diets are transforming faster, per capita rice consumption has been declining over the last few decades and consumption of livestock products, fish, fruits and vegetables has grown rapidly. Then, pulses had their fair share of recognition as the United Nations announced 2016 as the International Year of Pulses (IYP). Their rich nutritional value as “natural superfoods” and their contribution to environmental sustainability aspects are getting due attention globally more so in the traditionally animal-protein consuming regions. The third one is a tale of two cities - New Delhi and Beijing. The two Asian giants were fighting for the notorious top spot of “the most polluted” in the world. Unlike the latter, New Delhi’s dangerous air pollution was caused by burning of wheat stubbles after harvest in the neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana. Strong voices were raised to press the Government to review India’s over emphasize on cereal-based agricultural and food subsidization policies that made these states “the wheat bowl of India”. Further, FAO in Asia Pacific stressed the need for more action on the Anti-Microbial Resistance issue and called for concerted action by all stakeholders in the food chain. Meantime in South Korea, two strains of H5 virus (bird flu) struck in December when global meat demand will probably be at its peak. At 15kg per capita, South Korea is one of the top consumers of chicken meat in Asia. These will have significant biosecurity and food safety ramifications on domestic production and trade of meat, feed and grains globally. The Dairy Declaration of Rotterdam led by the FAO and the International Dairy Federation (IDF) was a defining moment for the global dairy sector. It promulgates enhanced focus and integrated multi-stakeholder approaches with special emphasize on income, employment and livelihoods of the smallholders; sustainable development goals (SDGs); nutritious and healthy diets; the need to address environmental degradation and climate change, and to support biodiversity. The big news The final big news of the year was the merger of two behemoths – Bayer and Monsanto – in a deal valued at US$66 billion. With Syngenta’s acquisition by Sinochem and the merger of Dow and DuPont, the global agricultural input sector (crop protection chemicals, seeds and biotech) is slated for greater consolidation in future. All the above developments are important in their own myriad ways in influencing what Asia grows and eats. These in turn create several opportunities for agribusinesses in the short, medium and long term, which will be discussed at length in the forthcoming issues.
Raghavan (‘Ragha’) Sampathkumar is a seasoned food and agribusiness professional with 360 degree understanding of the complex political, socio-economic, environmental and cultural perspectives of the Agri-Food value chain. He has more than 13 years of experience working in various subsectors of food & agribusiness including agro commodities, international trade, agri-inputs, biotech, and animal nutrition sectors across Asia-Pacific. 18 | January 2017 - Milling and Grain
Leiber GmbH introduces new website
eiber GmbH, which is an international manufacturer of specialty yeast products, recently showed interested members of the trade its broad portfolio of processed feed additives based on brewers’ yeast at Eurotier 2016. It also presented for the first time a German-language website – accessible at www.leiber-hefe.de – aimed specifically at livestock owners and farmers. Nikolaus Jungbluth, Business Unit Director of Animal Nutrition at Leiber GmbH, states, “The goal of this dedicated website is to generally promote communication between Leiber and animal owners by reaching out to them with this special tool, supported by a retailer directory and the opportunity to make contact.” In order to enable direct access to a specific animal species, the site is again divided up into the categories of ruminants (leiber-rind. de), pigs (leiber-schwein.de), poultry (leiber-gefluegel.de) and horses (leiber-pferd.de). Apart from product information and feeding recommendations, the site provides information on how brewers’ yeast works, technical information, and reports of studies that have been carried out. Leiber GmbH has been a leading manufacturer of specialty yeast products “made in Germany” for more than sixty years. At its two plants in Lower Saxony, as well as at production facilities in Poland and Russia, Leiber’s more than 200 committed employees manufacture brewers’ yeast products and yeast extracts at the highest level of quality.