Thursday, April 10, 2014

Aquaculture view: Feeding a Growing Human Population in an Efficient, Safe and Environmentally-Friendly Manner

Aquaculture view

Aquaculture view is a column in each edition of International Aquafeed magazine (IAF), written by Dominique P Bureau.

Part of the IAF editorial panel, Dom has a PhD in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Guelph, Canada.

Today he teaches various undergraduate and graduate courses on animal nutrition and agriculture at the University of Guelph. Between 2007 and 2009, he coordinated the “Paris Semester”, a study abroad program for undergraduate students at the University of Guelph.

He serves on a number of international committees, including the US National Research Council Committee on Nutrient Requirements of Fish and Shrimp.

See all of the Aquaculture view columns here.

March - April 2014: 

Feeding a Growing Human Population in an Efficient, Safe and Environmentally-Friendly Manner

As the world population continues to increase, food security on a global scale is becoming a key priority.  Feeding nine billion people by 2050 represents a formidable challenge. Along with population growth, economic growth and the rise of the middle class in several countries are leading to significant increase in the demand for food products of animal origins.  Global consumption of animal food products is projected to rise 73 percent by 2050, while dairy demand is expected to grow by 58 percent from current levels (FAO, 2011). The FAO estimates that the world needs to boost output of cereals by 1 billion tonnes and produce 200 million extra tonnes of livestock products a year by 2050 to feed a growing population who is consuming increasing amount of animal food products.

In this context, livestock production, including aquaculture, should use natural resources more efficiently to meet ever-growing demand. Animal diets should increasingly be based on the valorization of food resources deemed unsuitable (or less desirable) for human consumption. However, we must also ensure that animal food products are safe, nutritious and health promoting, while produced in a manner that is ethical and financially and environmentally viable.

Agricultural commodities (grains and oilseeds) are increasingly processed to extract nutrients and resources for human use (e.g. starch, proteins, bio-fuels). There is considerable potential to add value to the diverse co-products generated by agriculture, food and bio-fuel industries, by generating novel feeds that fit the needs of the animal industry. Moreover, it is estimated that about 97% of all agricultural and food waste is plowed back in the field, land-filled or incinerated. While efforts to compost or find industrial uses for wastes are underway, it is widely agreed that the valorization of co-products and agricultural, industrial and food wastes through their use as feeds for farm and companion animals represents a more sustainable option since valuable (and increasingly expensive) nutrients can be more meaningfully recovered and used. 

Valorization of wastes and co-products generated by agriculture, food and bio-fuel industries as animal feed resources represents nonetheless important challenges, including (1) variability in the availability, chemical composition and nutritional composition of these potential feed resources, (2) food safety and public health (e.g. contamination with pathogens and deleterious substances), (3) regulations governing use of co-products and (4) logistics and economics (cost/benefit). 
A number of innovative technologies are available to address some of these challenges.  Research and the development and adoption of new technologies has over the past several decades greatly enhanced livestock production by improving efficiency of dietary resource use, the health and welfare of animals and reducing the output of waste per unit of food product produced. Stakeholders of the industry must continue to work together to address the major challenges of efficiently and ethically meeting the needs of growing and increasingly affluent human population.

Agree or disagree? Any comments? Please don't hesitate to send me feedback or suggestions at, or leave a comment below. I am always very happy to interact with IAF readers!

No comments:

Post a Comment