Feed industry outlook: protein shortage

Nizamettin Senköylü Secretary General of the Turkish Feed Manufacturers Association, Ankara, Turkey


Sustainable feed production essentially requires sustainable feed ingredients production to avoid the future risk of protein shortage.

Animal originated proteins and foods consisted of meat, dairy, eggs and fish are not only prominent in terms of taste and tradition but they also provide essential nutrients such as indispensable amino acids and fatty acids, iron, calcium, phosphorus and vitamins and play a crucial role in human being health and nutrition. Hence, currently one of the most important indicators of economic development or living standard is per capita protein consumption and the animal protein consumption ratio. There are several factors which negatively affect access to food. Global increase in population, climate change, urbanization, shrinkage of arable land and increase in middle income class have significant impact on increase for competition for food. As a result more protein is needed not only for people but also for livestock production.

Global constraints for access to food
FAO projections show that the world population will increase from 7.3 billion of 2015 to 9.5 billion by 20150. One billion of today’s population are in the border of poverty and undernourishment. Another 2 billion of people are estimated to be added on top of this population within 35 years period creating a huge demand for food. As a result a dramatic increase in the environmental problems are expected to be faced since livestock production is accounted for 14.5% emissions of greenhouse gases and biodiversity loss. Current level of income will be increased and consequently the protein demand will shift from plant protein sources to animal originated protein particularly in emerging countries with vast populations such as in China, India, Brazil, Indonesia and Russia. Therefore, a large amount of extra arable land is needed for grassland and protein rich feed ingredients production to meet the protein shortage. Population pressure, climate change, urbanization, growing of middle income class, environmental problems, loss of biodiversity and shrinking of arable land will limit the supply of feed resources that are needed for livestock production. All these factors are associated with sustainability of feed and animal production which create considerable burden for feed sector and have to be taken into account.

Feed production
Global compound feed production has reached to 1 billion tons. Sustainable feed production essentially requires sustainable feed ingredients production.

When energy and protein sources are compared with respect to feed production in terms of availability, productivity and efficiency, protein sources seems to be more critical compared to plant sources. 

Global statistics show that animal protein sources are more scare and the major problem in livestock production stems from this scarcity. Protein is the main obstacle blocking livestock production.

Oilseeds productıon and trade
Oilseed meals and pulses are the major protein sources among feed ingredients. These valuable sources are not only rich in protein, but they are also rich in various fats for human and animal consumption. World’s total oilseed production was 532 million tons which consisted respectively of 60% soybean, 13 canola/ rapeseed, 8% cotton seed, 7.7% groundnut and 7.5% sunflower seed. Major producers of these oilseeds are USA (21%), Brazil (19%), Argentina (11%), China (10%) and India (7%). On the other hands major importers of the oilseeds on the world are China, EU countries, Mexico, Japan, Turkey, Indonesia, Taiwan, Thailand and Egypt. The highest amount of trade is done with soybean and is about 120 million tons and accounted for 87% of the global oilseed trade (USDA, 2015).

Prominence of soybean and oil seeds
Soybean, in the meantime, is the major source of protein for poultry and pig production as well. This valuable oilseed is produced in high amounts respectively in USA (34%), in Brazil (30%), in Argentina (18%) and in total 82% of the soybean is produced in North and South America. In South America 35% of the irrigated arable land is used for this soybean. Soybean has become a substantial protein source for the feed industry not only due to its rich nutritional content but also because of its incomparable large amount of production and trade commodity. Soybean cannot be substituted by other oilseeds unless new production policies with regard to canola/rapeseed, cotton, sunflower and safflower or groundnut production are implemented. Alternative protein sources have to be considered and further investigations need to be carried out. The reduction of protein market into single oilseed has resulted in market shrinkage, distortion of competition and increase in feed ingredient prices. Globally commercialized amount of oilseed is 138 million tons out of which soybean is 120 million tons. For instance, China can be a good example of not only an important soybean producer but also a major importer. China imports 78 million tons of soybean out of 120 million tons of commercialized soybean which accounted for 65% of the soybean trade in the global market. The rest of 42 million tons is purchased by all other countries of the world which are in shortage of plant protein. Similar situation is observed in oilseed meals and the global amount of traded oilseed meal is 85 million tons from which 26 million tons (31%) is imported by EU. World soybean meal trade comprises 75% of the total oilseed meal trade.

New strategies are needed
In EU protein policies are built toward the decrease of soybean dependency. Thus the increase of European soybean production to replace import of soybean from South America by increasing canola/rapeseed, lupine, sunflower and other pulses and legumes production. Apart from these using novel technologies clover, algae, insects, warms, food industry wastes are being studied in an attempt to be converted into alternative protein sources. In developed countries per capita protein consumption is 3 times to that of in the developing countries and a debate whether this high protein consumption should be reduced is underway. In order to reduce protein shortage, preventing undernourishment and increasing animal protein, efficient usage of sources, sustainable livestock production and development alternative protein sources are needed. Agro-biotechnology offers new tools to improve oil seed production by increasing diseases resistance, pest management and herbicide tolerance thereby plant protein sources can be widen as to meet the increased global protein demand. Wastage of food should be prevented and evaluated by new technologies in order to increase efficient usage in food chain.

From The Potential for Poultry Production in Developing Countries Proceedings, 15 Belek – Antalya – Turkey.