Back to the future: Alltech President Dr. Lyons contrasts China of 20 years ago to today
Alltech hosts event celebrates 20 years of successful presence in China
The last twenty years brought unprecedented development to Chinese agriculture, but it also brought challenges that shook the whole food chain in recent years and undermined consumer confidence. Companies that dare to make changes while sticking to their core survived. The ones that are using the latest technologies will have a great future in the world's largest swine, aqua and feed producing country. Alltech Founder and President Dr. Pearse Lyons shared his vision with Chinese industry professionals on the Alltech China 20 Year Celebratory Summit. The event was organized both to celebrate the global animal nutrition company's twenty years of successful presence and to look into where the Chinese feed and food industries are going.
"China must be able to feed itself," said Dr. Pearse Lyons, founder and president of Alltech to over 700 attendees at the Summit. The Middle Kingdom has 7 percent of the world's arable land and 20 percent of the world's population. Yet, the country, is depending heavily on grain or milk imports. Although over 50 percent of the worlds's pig production takes place in China, the country is a net importer of pork meat.
The agriculture sector in China has gone through tremendous changes, but recent year's food safety scandals have clearly shown the areas where significant developments need to be made.
Lyons believes that the last twenty years were the time of consolidation moving from backyard farming to large, modern integrations. The next two decades will be more of how companies will be able to increase their production efficiency in a sustainable way without damaging the environment and maintaining their profitability.
Chinese companies have the capability to quickly adapt technologies and learn from other markets. Lyons spoke about the very recent porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) cases in U.S. and Canada. Due to using plasma in piglet diets, Lyons said, entire swine populations have broken out with PEDV disease at several feed companies. "Plasma is a bad idea and we, at Alltech knew it thirty years ago. We have solutions to completely replace plasma," commented Lyons. The latest technologies are available for producers to significantly reduce the risk of diseases and sustainably grow their business.
It will soon be critical that Chinese companies use alternative raw material sources. Lyons predicts that such systems as Solid State Fermentation (SSF) will soon allow the production of customized enzyme cocktails for improving digestion, animal performance and health. Algae has already began to play an increasing role in animal production as a source of sustainable vegetable protein or oils (DHA).
"Alltech today is a $1 billion dollar company. We were one of the very first ones who came to China twenty years ago. China has become one of the top three key markets for Alltech over the years and will be a strong contributor to our global goal of $4 billion in sales in the near future. We have never been as excited as we are today about the opportunities in China and we look forward to closely supporting the industry in the next twenty years as well," Lyons concluded.