What are the issues & challenges that have been faced by the Asian feed industry?
The most common issues faced by the Asian feed industry are quality and availability of raw materials, price volatility of feed ingredients, multi-mycotoxin contamination in grains, and overdependence on Antibiotic Growth Promoters (AGPs) for reducing bacterial load and inflammation.
What changes have you observed in Asia-Pacific feed market over the past decade?
The Asia Pacific feed market has grown considerably, with a shift in focus toward feed hygiene and food safety, advance feed technology, alternative to AGPs, and use of functional feed additives.
Can you provide us with a regional outlook of Mycotoxin testing of feeds in Asia compared to rest of the world?
Recent Mycotoxin survey of BIOMIN, a reliable source of information for the industry shows that fumonisins, deoxynivalenol and zearalenone are the three most predominant mycotoxins in Asia, these trichothecenes are also known as field mycotoxins. In India this year, it is predominantly a mixture of fumonisins, aflatoxins and ochratoxins that pose the biggest threat, and storage of grains is observed as a major factor causing the problem.
How the mycotoxin testing has been evolved over past years? Can you also share about LCMSMS?
Besides rapid testing methods such as ELISA, Romer Labs developed a water-based extraction lateral flow device known as WATEX, which is cheap, fast and easy to use as a screening tool.
In terms of reference methods that require more time and investment, there has been a shift in recent years towards the use of liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) over high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), as the new technology is more sensitive, accurate and able to detect emerging as well as multi-mycotoxin contamination in compound feeds and feed raw materials.
One of the key advantages with LCMSMS technology is the analysis of masked mycotoxins. Masked mycotoxins are not detectable with conventional analyzing methods. Plants have natural protection tendency to cover carbohydrate mask over mycotoxins which is later released by microflora present in duodenum of the animal that results in presence of demasked mycotoxins in the body of animals.
After serving the industry for more than a decade, could you share your experiences about the customer awareness in different segments-poultry, cattle & aquaculture?
Customer awareness varies by country specially in Asia. Awareness is higher in developed nations like Australia, New Zealand, Korea and Japan, while developing countries such as Myanmar and Cambodia still have lower awareness about the problem and its causes, compared to knowledge and experience of other South East Asian countries across all segments. Among Poultry, Cattle and Aquaculture, poultry still happens to be the most developed and understood segment compared to the other two.
Please share your views about trends that are majorly affecting the feed additive industry in Asia.
There are many factors that are revolutionizing the feed additive industry around the globe. Some of the trends that are highly evolving in Asia are feed hygiene and processing, mycotoxin risk management, digestibility and performance enhancers, antimicrobial resistance, AGP free feed production, natural growth promoters, functional feed additives, and antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory compounds that are capable of replacing antibiotics in feed.
How do you see Natural Growth promoters (NGPs) or alternatives to AGPs. Could you please share your thoughts about its advantages?
Even if there is no AGP regulation in India for Livestock, still significant awareness is observed in Indian Livestock industry. Farmers are realizing the importance of NGPs. NGPs can be used as alternatives to AGPs and also with AGPs to reduce the requirement of AGPs. In NGPs, few categories of feed additives are common such sa use of acids or organic acids based feed additives, combination of probiotics and prebiotics, and Phytogenics. Sourcing of ingredients, with proven results in vivo and in vitro trials, and scientific certification is very important.
How do you see the future of feed industry in India shaping? What are the short-term and the long-term growth projections for Indian feed industry?
The Indian feed industry is still restricted to poultry, aqua and dairy feed manufacturing, while the pork industry is almost non-existent or limited to backyard farming. In recent years, the industry has started to invest in advance and high tech feed mills, but now it needs to focus on quality of raw material. Procurement of quality raw material, regular monitoring of quality parameters and maintaining hygiene standards in a feed mill are some of the factors that need more attention. Currently, the country is producing about 30 million tonnes of feed in a year, which is approx. 10% of total feed production in Asia. However, per capita protein consumption is still relatively lower which is expected to grow steadily in the coming years. and hence the feed requirement. Indian feed industry is expected to grow 7-8% per annum for the next 5 years.
by Dr. Sujit Kulkarni, Biomin