A look at strategies, current and future, for countries around the world with particular emphasis on China and Norway.
With Covid and the Ukraine-Russia war wreaking havoc on grain supply chains – in addition to the ongoing usual trade disputes and global drought hotspots that shift from year to year around the world – more countries are now looking at how self sufficiency might be achieved with livestock/aquaculture feed in the years or decades to come.
Feed security is of course tied to protein food security, so the goal of feed security is seen by the leaders of many countries as quite important. However, in smaller and dryer countries at their present population levels, feed security is not possible in the short term. However, it could be achieved in the future with strategies such as algae production for aquaculture feed, people eating less meat, using aquaponics and other solutions. But some larger countries are also finding it difficult to produce more feed. Having enough water, land, energy and labour are among the toughest challenges.
And whether feed self-sufficiency (again, tied to protein food security) should be a strict goal is debatable. That is, to prepare for inevitable years of drought, other natural disasters or conflicts, maintaining healthy grain trading/import relationships seems to be a smart idea.
Still, feed self-sufficiency is very much in focus for many countries as at least an ideal that may one day be reached.
As mentioned, feed self-sufficiency is generally more difficult in smaller countries, but it is also hampered in some larger countries by arid climates, mountainous terrain and large populations, etc. Large countries such as Canada, Russia, New Zealand, Australia and Brazil grow enough crops for their own feed needs and also export substantial amounts.
In addition, some countries such as Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Argentina also have areas of marginal land where cattle, bison, sheep and goats etc. can be grazed to meet most feed requirements. According to Dr Nicolas Navarre at Leiden University in the Netherlands, Argentina could feed itself with just 5.5% of its land, Sweden, USA and Canada 12-13%, Ireland about 15% and Finland 18%.
Japan has a goal of 45% food self-sufficiency on a calorie basis by 2030, but in a new Statista report, it’s noted that “in fiscal year 2022, the self-sufficiency ratio of animal feed in Japan was estimated to stay the same as the previous fiscal year, at 26%, implying that animal feed demand in the country was mainly – as in all previous years – met through imports.”
Feed self-sufficiency through increased use of PAP
Crops aside, there is room across all countries for more processed animal protein (PAP) to be used in livestock feed. Its nutritional values continue to be researched in the wake of a ban in Europe and other countries after mad cow disease was discovered decades ago.
As noted by EFPRA, which represents the European animal by-product industry, past years of banning PAP in feed has resulted in pet food being a key market for PAP. Use of PAP in aquaculture is growing in Europe, and a comeback of its use across feed for other livestock types is expected.