Written by: Gina Tumbarello | August 23, 2021
This blog is part of our policy priority series.
There is a host of internationally focused work the American Feed Industry Association does on behalf of the U.S. animal food industry, but do you know what really drives us? We thrive on overcoming barriers and finding solutions to market access constraints. Sharing your story with anyone who will (and sometimes won’t) hear is what we do!
The AFIA wants to keep international markets open to U.S. feed, feed ingredient, pet food and related industries, and we want to see exports of these products grow.
And how can the AFIA help in achieving these lofty goals?
The AFIA works daily to open markets and maintain access for U.S. animal food products and related industries. We guide foreign regulators on how they can meet their regulatory obligations without hindering access to needed feed inputs for their markets. We inform foreign end-users about how their domestic regulations restrict their access to required feed inputs and what changes can resolve these issues – empowering them to influence regulatory reform. We educate U.S. government agencies on the significance and priorities of the U.S. animal food industry to garner prioritization and support of the industry’s objectives from U.S. regulatory and policymakers. We also educate international bodies (i.e., CODEX, OIE, FAO, ISO) and influencers on the validity of the U.S. animal food industry’s positions to ensure U.S. animal food industry positions are included as part of international standards deliberations.
The AFIA also creates opportunities in export markets for U.S. animal food products. We instruct foreign end-users on the viability, safety, quality, sustainability and variety of U.S. animal food products and share opportunities and export requirements with AFIA members.
As I look toward the future, when international travel is once again the norm, I look forward to the many in-person programs and activities we have planned to expand opportunities for the U.S. animal food industry.
For example, did you know that Vietnam's dog and cat populations have grown over 30% between 2016 and 2020? Euromonitor International’s “Pet Care in Vietnam” report from April estimated that dog and cat food sales stood above $46 million in 2020, a 97% increase over five years, and forecasts sales to increase another 113% between 2021 and 2026. Small animal veterinarians and retail pet stores are growing in numbers in Vietnam. Pet ownership has become an affordable luxury available to the growing middle class. However, there are only 10 companies selling pet foods in Vietnam due to stringent product registration requirements.
Addressing this constraint as well as consumer education and awareness of balanced, complete pet food diets for existing and new pet owners as they look to purchase pet food products will be imperative for the U.S. to really crack this market. This is where the AFIA can help!
In China, concerns over animal production practices in light of the new ban on antibiotic use in livestock feed and proper biosecurity protocols to prevent and manage future animal disease outbreaks are worrying animal producers and feed manufacturers. Our strategy is to address these concerns by providing technical exchanges, technical training and technical assistance to enhance China’s animal production and distribution system in areas where U.S.-origin feed additives can enhance productivity and profitability in the supply chain, furthering the demand for U.S. feed ingredient exports. China's adoption of U.S. feed technology provides opportunities to expand the quantity and variety of U.S. feed and feed ingredient exports in response to changes in how feed is formulated and how animals are produced in China.
The dairy sector in Brazil is keen to modernize and has been looking toward U.S. genetics as one mechanism. U.S. feed additives can assist the Brazilian dairy industry optimize its feed efficiency and ensure that investments in genetics are being fully optimized. As Brazil works to modernize and grow its agriculture sector, incorporating better technology through U.S. feed additives and ingredients is the next logical step in that process.
Although we cannot travel just yet to these far-off places, it doesn’t keep us from charging forward. In partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the AFIA developed a webinar, “U.S. Animal Feed Additives: Adding Value and Generating Results,” targeting Bazilian professionals related to animal nutrition who work in the area of research and development, imports, buyers, technicians in animal nutrition and other related areas. This presentation has also been translated into Mandarin and will be translated into Vietnamese, Spanish and French for use globally. The AFIA is providing pet food social media content for the USDA’s “United Tastes” campaign in Vietnam and putting together some general tips on calf management for use in Inner Mongolia.
Simultaneously, the AFIA is pushing the Biden administration to prioritize trade policy and appreciate the importance and value of agricultural trade, and specifically animal food trade. Two negotiations are still on pause since the turnover in administrations. The U.S. Trade Representative office still lacks a chief agricultural negotiator. Concerns linger within the agricultural community about keeping China accountable to their commitments under the phase one trade agreement, and retaliatory tariffs by both sides are still in place. All the while, our competitors continue to enhance their trade and competitiveness by negotiating and completing new trade agreements.
We continue to champion the industry’s causes, representing the total feed industry in search of greater export market sales, transparent and science-based regulations and open access to international markets for the U.S. animal food industry.