Digital Re-print - September | October 2009
Feature title: World food security & the private sector
Grain & Feed Milling Technology is published six times a year by Perendale Publishers Ltd of the United Kingdom. All data is published in good faith, based on information received, and while every care is taken to prevent inaccuracies, the publishers accept no liability for any errors or omissions or for the consequences of action taken on the basis of information published. ©Copyright 2009 Perendale Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means without prior permission of the copyright owner. Printed by Perendale Publishers Ltd. ISSN: 1466-3872
is safe and nutritious is the ‘table-stakes’ expectation of the feed industry. “Expectations for our performance are increasing. As the population of the world increases, and becomes more affluent, the demands for our competence will increase. This creates the imperative for the advance of technology. “Meeting the increased need for the quantity of food produced is only one part of the equation. We will need to do this with an evershrinking environmental impact. Now, more than ever, our commitment to technological development must be unrelenting,” he says. must earn, we must proactively engage in the dialogue and debate that will set the direction for leadership of the future for food production.
World food security & the private sector
The definition of ‘food security’ is a statement of aspiration, and the description of the desire of every person in the world to have meaningful access to food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences.
expected to be in place by 2050. We have a big challenge ahead, but we also have a history and ‘track record’ of meeting such a challenge.”
“We have another role to play, beyond this fundamental purpose. This additional role is part of our responsibility as participants in the societies, and economies in which we are members. This additional role is to engage in the discussion of significant issues, and to provide leadership in areas for which we are qualified. “Leadership isn’t a granted ‘right’. It’s an attribute that can only be earned through trust. The cost of earning that trust can be considered in three different components: reliability, sincerity and competence. For our customers, reliability is about acting consistently and keeping our promises. Sincerity is about doing what we say we will do and meaning what we say. Competence is about producing our feed products to a high, safe standard, efficiently and to specifications that consumers require. “If consumers, and policy-makers, are to trust private industry, and consider the possibility to follow our leadership, we must be recognized to be reliable, sincere and competent in the work we do for them. Our ability to demonstrate these characteristics, is largely due to the choices we make as an industry. “Reliability - By reliability I refer to consistently demonstrating that we deliver on our promises as an industry. This certainly means adhering to the ‘letter’ and the ‘spirit’ of regulation, but also means that we are positioned to provide consistent availability of safe and affordable food “Food security cannot be accomplished if the availability of food is limited only to that which will be produced within 100 miles, or 1000 miles. Using the best locations of climate and soil for food production is the most reliable, and sustainable, approach to food security. “Sincerity - Sincerity is demonstrating that we mean what we say. When this is true, there is integrity between our actions and our words. The sincerity with which we represent our role, our policy positions and our objectives and intentions is the foundation of credibility. This doesn’t mean that we will always agree with every group participating in the dialogue, but we will share our perspectives so that they accurately represent our motivations. This credibility is essential for our work in communicating with consumers, as well as policy-makers. “Competence - By competence, I mean that we have demonstrated that we can do what we say we can do. Efficiently converting raw materials into food that
“So one of the challenges in our industry, if we are to deliver
greater food security, is to develop our industry locally around the to think about an enabling world, and encourage governments framework for that to happen”
o s t people would consider food security to be a basic human right. But it is not a ‘right’ that is recognised by nature, says Dave Cieslak the Chairman of the International Feed Industry Federation and Vice-President for Cargill Animal Nutrition based in Minneapolis, USA.
“Food security can only be a ‘right’ in the sense that humanity has the capacity to accomplish the transformation of natural resources into the quantity and quality of food that meets its needs and preferences,” he told invited guests attend the 50th Anniversary celebrations of the European Feed Manufacturers Federation (FEFAC) in Brussels on October 9, 2009. “The capacity for this transformation lies primarily in the hands of the private sector – the individual farmers, and their families and the people who are members of companies that produce and process raw materials and food products that are part of the economic sector we call ‘agriculture.’ “It is the capability and the effort of these people that will make the difference between a world that accomplishes food security, and one where a significant portion of the global population is not able to meet their basic food needs, or lacks the options to exercise their food preferences,” he says.
Part of this is achieved through markets and trade, both local and global, which enable the optimal use of natural resources. For the feed industry, this means being close to our customers – livestock farmers – because we are essentially a ‘localized’ industry around the world, he adds. “While we need our raw materials to be globally accessible through markets and trade, and we need our customers’ products to be able to move from where they are produced to where they are consumed, the production of the feed consumed by animals primarily serves local markets. “So one of the challenges in our industry, if we are to deliver greater food security, is to develop our industry locally around the world, and encourage governments to think about an enabling framework for that to happen.” As sustainability considerations become ever more important in production systems, keeping trade flowing and markets operating will require new thinking and new solutions.
hend the standards of performance that they must meet to be trustworthy participants in food production.”
The starting point
Implementation of Codex standards of best practice, is the starting point for this effort. IFIF, in conjunction with FAO, are publishing the Manual of Good Practices for the Feed Industry, to support the application of the Codex standards, says Dr Cieslak. Food Safety – through risk-based systems, such as HACCP – is table stakes for our industry. “We also want governments to remember that common, and enforced, international safety standards are fundamental enablers for markets and trade which enable us to function effectively, and food security to be accomplished. There remains more to do in this area.”
The future of global food security and the imperative of the environmental sustainability of food production, depend on our creativity and investment toward improving the effectiveness and efficiency in the technology of food production. And it depends on us promoting best practice around the world – educating, training and spreading existing and future technologies, says Dr Cieslak. “Sincerity, reliability, and competence are the necessary attributes to build trust with the stakeholders in the global food system. “With the trust that we
“The discussion, and the decisions that result, cannot move forward to successfully meet the challenge of global food security without the voice and the leadership of the private sector,” he concludes.
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Six billion customers
For the private sector, sustainable and safe production means focusing on continuous improvement – fuelled by competition, innovation and corresponding reward. It requires the effort, discipline and creativity that are the hallmarks of successful economic enterprises – whether they are individual producers, or large corporations. Accomplishing food security is an outcome of striving to serve more customers, more effectively. And in doing so, private sector producers accomplish their own personal objectives to assure a bright future for themselves. The private sector is often described, and considered, in terms of its imperative to achieve financial returns. To focus solely on that aspect of enterprise, is like saying that the purpose of living is to eat. Achieving financial returns is not the purpose of a private enterprise, but without financial return to such activity, it is not possible to achieve our purpose, he says. And what is that purpose, he asks? The leading authority on modern management philosophy, Peter Drucker, said it best: “the purpose of a business is to create and keep a customer.” “We have more than six billion customers to serve today, with half as many again
Increasing quantity and quality
“At the same time as we are striving to meet the needs for increasing quantities of food, we are also challenged to meet ever increasing quality requirements. “The key requirements for food have always been to meet the nutritional needs and taste preferences of people, without causing illness or disease.” Thus, he says, food safety is fundamental to the quality of the feed we produce – something that many in the industry have focused on for a long time. Unfortunately, that commitment is not shared by all. There have been tragic examples of those who have exploited the informal and unstructured organisation of the feed and animal production sector to act unethically. “If it was not before, it is now abundantly clear that an effective food safety system is the fundamental responsibility of every single operator in the feed sector and a requirement for public trust. “An important role of industry associations, and for IFIF, is to reinforce that message and ensure that our members compre-
Enabling structures to encourage production
The structure of the sector that accomplishes this transformation can look very different around the world. But in order for the private sector to thrive, wherever it is, it needs enabling structure from governments. Such structures need to encourage production that is sustainable – that is, that minimises the use of resources.
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