ITALY – Scores of international experts, government officials, researchers, and industry leaders convened at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Headquarters for a two-day Global Forum for Animal Feed and Feed Regulators. 

The event, attended by participants from several continents, aims to address challenges and explore innovative solutions in the animal feed industry.

With a sector generating over US$400 billion in annual commercial turnover and producing more than one billion tons of livestock feed, the forum underscores the critical role of animal feed in ensuring animal health, human nutrition, and environmental sustainability.

In his opening remarks, FAO Director-General QU Dongyu emphasized the need for the livestock sector to transform, aligning with global agrifood systems’ efficiency, inclusivity, resilience, and sustainability. 

Dongyu highlighted the importance of concrete actions, including managing and restoring grasslands and pastures, producing fodder and feed ingredients, and processing and using compound feed—all requiring appropriate policies and regulations.

Feeding animals well will feed the world better,” Dongyu stated, stressing the pivotal role of ensuring the availability, accessibility, quality, and safety of animal feed. 

The Global Forum provides an inclusive platform for national and regional feed regulatory competent authorities, FAO Members, private sector representatives, researchers, development agencies, financial institutions, and civil society to engage in discussions on cutting-edge innovations and strategies.

The demand for animal protein, especially poultry and pork, is rising due to population growth, urbanization, and increased purchasing power in emerging economies. 

Dongyu noted that meeting this growing demand necessitates addressing environmental concerns, socio-economic considerations, and safety issues for both animals and humans.

While acknowledging the diverse nature of livestock feed value chains globally, Dongyu underscored the importance of providing small and medium-scale farmers—comprising the majority of livestock producers worldwide—with cost-efficient and science-based feed solutions. 

Access to knowledge, technology, and markets, he argued, is vital for improving livelihoods, contributing to poverty reduction, and accelerating rural development.

The forum features executives from trade groups like the International Feed Industry Federation, scientists, and policy experts from various countries. Topics addressed range from ensuring feed availability to developing and implementing legislation optimizing feed ingredients for health, quality, and environmental outcomes.

FAO experts shared insights into the organization’s work on the Sustainable Livestock Transformation Initiative, animal nutrition, feed safety, alternative and advanced feed practices to reduce antimicrobial usage, and normative work on food standards outlined in the Codex Alimentarius.

In concluding remarks, Director-General Dongyu stressed the need to transition from discussions to action. He emphasized that many solutions are already known, with feed constituting between 60% and 80% of livestock production costs globally. 

The forum serves as a platform to leverage innovations and address challenges, contributing to the bioeconomy and optimizing the sustainability of agrifood systems.

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