FEFAC, representing the EU compound feed and premix manufacturers, strongly welcomes the EU Council declaration in Versailles on food security following the Russian invasion of Ukraine: “we will improve our food security by reducing our dependencies on key imported agricultural products and inputs, in particular by increasing the EU production of plant-based proteins”.
For many years FEFAC supported EU actions and initiatives to strengthen the EU’s food and feed sector resilience, based on “lessons learnt” during the COVID pandemic and the EU Protein Plan first published in 2018. The European Commission publication on a contingency plan for ensuring food supply and food security clearly highlighted the vulnerability of the EU feed sector regarding imports of protein-rich feed materials and essential feed additives.
The 1st “ad-hoc” EFSCM (European Food Security Crisis preparedness & response Mechanism) meeting on the Ukraine crisis impact on the EU food sector held on 9 March 2022 paved the way for an effective crisis management system designed to mitigate food and feed chain disruptions in Ukraine, EU neighbouring countries in the Mediterranean and most exposed Member States based on sectoral risk assessments. FEFAC highlighted the crucial importance of preventing disruption of feed maize deliveries to Southern European ports and thanked Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski for the effective short-term crisis management measures agreed by the European Commission.
FEFAC President Asbjørn Børsting stated: “The European Union needs to establish a comprehensive EU food and feed security contingency plan, prioritising food and feed use of grains and oilseeds, both covering the short-term impacts linked to the loss of Black Sea grain deliveries from Ukraine, but also for the mid-term to buffer the Ukraine crisis impacts, which will be felt for a long time. The EU needs to support innovative plant breeding technologies and good agricultural practices to boost its own grain, oilseeds and vegetable protein production”.
He noted the need to carefully analyse the Versailles declaration’s aim to seek a reduction in the EU’s energy dependencies: “FEFAC members are fully supportive of increasing the EU‘s feed autonomy and have invested for many years to increase the share of co-products in compound feed production, thus improving the sector’s circularity and capacity to recover nutrients from “non-human edible” feedstuffs. EU objectives on boosting the use of biogas and other renewable energy sources could potentially undermine the EU food and feed autonomy objectives, if these co-products used in feed would be deviated towards energy production, meaning they are removed from food & feed production systems and thus increase the EU’s reliance on feed imports.”