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Africa Is In The Midst Of A Real Protein Revolution

- Oct 15, 2018 -

Africa is in the midst of a real protein revolution

Africa has considerable potential in agriculture and the economy, as by quarter 2050, a quarter of the world’s population will live there. But can it feed itself?

Albert Van Rensburg, Regional Director for Africa and Managing Director of Biomin South Africa, expressed this. He delivered a speech at the 8th Biomin World Nutrition Forum in Cape Town last week. This is the first time WNF has been held on African soil, so focusing on the African Focus Conference is part of this activity.

Potential and challenge

At the African focus meeting, it is clear that Africa has enormous agricultural potential, but at the same time faces many challenges in terms of feed and food production. Considering that the population of Africa will grow from the current 1.3 billion population to the 2.5 billion population in 2050, this means that more animal protein will be consumed. Experts talk about a real protein revolution that is about to begin in Africa (and is already happening). The numbers are amazing. The expected growth rate of animal product consumption in the next few years is 3.3% for poultry, 3.3% for pork, 3.1% for eggs, 2.5% for beef, 2.3% for mutton and 2.2% for milk. For aquaculture, these figures are unclear, but there are a large number of aquaculture facilities in Africa. But where does the increased demand for animal protein come from? Considering that Africa is mainly a small-scale farmer, Van Rensburg raised the question of whether Africa can support itself. “Probably not, because these small farms produce about 70% of Africa’s current food needs. In addition, farmers’ overall agricultural expertise is lacking, so occupying a small farm at this point and turning it into a large, modern High-tech farms are unrealistic, but at the same time, we have a country like Congo (same size as France) with perfect climate and water supply. There are 18 million hectares of arable land in the country, of which only 8 million hectares are used. In agriculture, in theory, the land itself can feed almost the expected growth population of Africa as a whole," he said.


Support local feed association

De Wet Boshoff, Executive Director of the South African Animal Feed Manufacturers Association (AFMA), stressed that Africa produces only 3.5% of global animal feed production. This is equivalent to 37.7 million tons of feed per year. Bosov: “There are 22 feed producing countries in Africa. The African continent is divided into six economic blocks, but the problem is that these blocks are not synchronized with each other and do not cooperate. In terms of the challenges we face in feed production. This can be improved a lot. In the feed industry, South Africa is very developed. But in other countries it is not the case. For example, we still see examples of the use of raw materials in bags used daily. In many countries, knowledge exchange is not good, politics is not Stability (which also interferes with agricultural policies, such as closing certain borders) hinders development. “Boshoff says the challenge requires a science-based approach (without assumptions) and a value chain approach. “Fortunately, we see governments starting to support agriculture more and more,” he said. Bosov also mentioned that there will be more feed associations in more African countries (such as AFMA in South Africa). This will strengthen knowledge and trade. “South Africa can be seen as an example for other parts of Africa. We tested the establishment of the Feed Association in Tanzania, which is a success. The next country will be Zambia. Other issues that the African feed industry needs to address include mycotoxin risk management, feed hygiene And silage conservation. Biomin is one of the countries that have invested heavily in Africa and is strengthening its activities in Africa through knowledge sharing, on-site technical and nutritional support, and seminars (for example, about AGP free production, preparing for Africa) Help solve these problems for the future. Through these efforts, feed quality, animal health and productivity are improved.

Solving mycotoxins in Africa

As mentioned above, mycotoxins are a problem that has always existed in the African continent. Aflatoxin is a hidden problem that is affecting many people in Africa. It has even been said that aflatoxins (mainly found in corn and peanuts) cause more health problems in Africa than malaria and tuberculosis. Test results from the 2017 Biomin Mycotoxin Survey (mixed samples) showed that the most common mycotoxin in Africa was DON, which was 68% detected in all test samples. 63% of all FUM samples tested in Africa occurred at an average concentration of 1,148 ppb. 37% of the samples contained ZEN with an average of 118 ppb. Fortunately, many projects are working to control mycotoxins. Earlier this week, Biomin hosted the start-up meeting of MycoSafe-South, a research project to address food safety issues related to mycotoxins in sub-Saharan Africa. The project focuses on human health. Other initiatives in Africa include the use of non-toxicity (biological control) product Aflasafe, which has significantly reduced aflatoxin contamination in African corn over the past few years. The International Agency for Research on Cancer's report on mitigation methods in low- and middle-income countries also proposes strategies for finding a solution for aflatoxins in Africa. In addition, the African Aflatoxin Control Partnership (PACA) is a great project that works with six African countries to generate local relevant evidence on the extent of aflatoxin problems and to develop environmentally appropriate mitigation measures.

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