Alltech: Challenges and Opportunities in Producing Food for Growing World PopulationTue, 19 May 2015 18:06:39 CDT
Demand for meat, eggs and milk will grow substantially with an ever increasing world population. While demand for food is increasing with the growing population in China, there are some factors that have actually softened demand in recent years. In speaking at the Alltech REBELation Conference being held this week in Lexington, Kentucky, Alltech Global Vice President and head of Greater China efforts, Dr. Mark Lyons said right now there is a big push for anti-corruption which has softened meat consumption. He said China consumers have real concerns for food safety from issues like tampering. Farm Director Ron Hays sat down and talked to Dr. Lyons about the outlook for exporting products to China. Click on the LISTEN BAR below to hear the conversation.
Alltech has had a presence in China for 21 years. In looking at the outlook for demand of American agricultural products, Lyons said believes that market will be more defined in the next five years. He said one indication for the potential for products being imported into China is having their agricultural production increase.
“Many people would look at that and say ‘oh no’, that means it’s going to be closed for us, we’re going to lose the opportunity,” Lyons said. “No, that’s not the case. China has to have some domestic production of any product before it really opens up and imports. So they don’t want to be completely dependent on imports and so we’ve seen that with dairy, we’ve seen that with pork and so I think that’s going to be a good thing actually and also an opportunity.”
In feeding a growing world population, Lyons said the first pillar of Alltech is marketing through education. In conjunction with Nestle, Alltech has launched the dairy farming institute in China where they are training dairy farmers in China and other countries about the best dairy management practices. Alltech also has 19 research alliances in developing new innovations. Lyons said the next challenge is making them relevant to the farm level.
In looking at feeding nine billion people by 2050, Lyons said this involves more than supplying food, but also improving the welfare and livelihood of people around the world. He said we have to continue to grow the global economy, which is the area he is the most concerned about.
“Today for at least over half of the population, the ability to pay is the issue,” Lyons said.
While the U.S. consumer is spending less than 10 percent of their income on food, the same cannot be said around the world. Lyons said most consumers are buying based on price, not because of the food’s nutritional value. He said we will have to produce the right foods at the right price.
Lyons is also the son of Dr. Pearse Lyons, the founder of the Alltech Company.
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