Support amongst UK pig farmers and agricultural stakeholders for the use of food losses in animal feed.
ABSTRACT: While food losses (foods which were intended for human consumption, but which ultimately are not directly eaten by people) have been included in animal feed for millennia, the practice is all but banned in the European Union. Amid recent calls to promote a circular economy, we conducted a survey of pig farmers (n = 82) and other agricultural stakeholders (n = 81) at a UK agricultural trade fair on their attitudes toward the use of food losses in pig feed, and the potential relegalisation of swill (the use of cooked food losses as feed). While most respondents found the use of feeds containing animal by-products or with the potential for intra-species recycling (i.e. pigs eating pork products) to be less acceptable than feeds without, we found strong support (>75%) for the relegalisation of swill among both pig farmers and other stakeholders. We fit multi-hierarchical Bayesian models to understand people's position on the relegalisation of swill, finding that respondents who were concerned about disease control and the perception of the pork industry supported relegalisation less, while people who were concerned with farm financial performance and efficiency or who thought that swill would benefit the environment and reduce trade-deficits, were more supportive. Our results provide a baseline estimate of support amongst the large-scale pig industry for the relegalisation of swill, and suggest that proponents for its relegalisation must address concerns about disease control and the consumer acceptance of swill-fed pork.
Project description:A risk assessment was conducted to assess the risk of ASFV entry into Japan through pork products illegally brought in by air passengers from China and fed to pigs in Japan. Scenario tree modelling was used with the following entry and exposure pathway considered to be the most likely route of ASF entry: an ASFV infected pork product is illegally brought into Japan by air travellers from China; this pork product is then used in a restaurant where scrap waste is recycled for animal feed and subsequently fed to pigs without being heat-treated. Input parameter values were based on surveys conducted by the authors, scientific data gathered from the literature and official data published by government agencies. The annual probability of ASFV entry into Japan via this pathway was predicted to be 0.20 (90% prediction interval: 0.00-0.90). The wide prediction interval was mainly caused by the uncertainty regarding the dose response relation of ASFV, followed by the probability of an ASF infected pig dying on affected farms, the loading of ASFV in an infected pig and the probability of an illegally imported pork product being heat-treated in China and used in restaurants. The results of scenario analysis revealed that the annual probability of ASFV entry into Japan will increase with an increase in the number of ASF affected farms in China. The probability of ASFV entry will increase substantially even if only a small proportion of Ecofeed is not heat-treated during the production process. The probability will decrease if an increased proportion of farms that feed swill apply heat-treatment before feeding swill to their pigs. These findings indicate that stringent application of heat-treatment of Ecofeed and swill is key to protecting the Japanese pig industry from the introduction of ASFV.
Project description:Edible insects are increasingly being considered as sustainable alternatives to fish and soybean meals in animal feed because of their high nutritional quality and environmental benefits. However, successful introduction of a new product to the market depends on the target user's acceptance. Thus, evaluating the potential demand of insect-based feeds would provide relevant information for policy development. The present study assessed farmers' knowledge on edible insects as feed, their acceptance of integrating insect meals in animal feeds and willingness to pay (WTP) for insect-based feed (IBF) using a contingent valuation method. A household survey was conducted among 957 randomly selected farmers including: 409 poultry, 241 fish and 307 pig farmers in four counties in Kenya. Results of the study reveal that over 70 and 80% of poultry and fish farmers, respectively, are aware that insects can be used as a feed ingredient. In addition, over 60 and 75% of poultry and fish farmers, respectively, consider insects as a good component of feed. Poultry, pig and fish farmers interviewed accepted and showed willingness to pay for IBF. Regression analysis indicated that age, gender, education, marital status, distance to feed trader, awareness of insects as feed, attitude towards insects, acceptance of insect species, availability of agricultural inputs, use of commercial feeds, availability of training and market information had a significant influence on the WTP for IBF. Therefore, increased extension services to educate famers on the nutritional benefits of insect meals in animal feeds and existing market opportunities are expected to improve farmers' attitude towards utilization and consequently enhance WTP for IBF, which in return would significantly reduce the existing pressure on conventional fishmeal feed resources. Our findings provide the first insights into the market opportunities of including insect meals in the animal feed value chain in Kenya.
Project description:Livestock production occupies approximately 75% of agricultural land, consumes 35% of the world's grain, and produces 14.5% of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. With demand for meat and dairy products forecast to increase 60% by 2050, there is a pressing need to reduce the footprint of livestock farming. Food wastes have a long history as a source of environmentally benign animal feed, but their inclusion in feed is currently banned in the EU because of disease control concerns. A number of East Asian states have in the last 20 years, however, introduced regulated, centralised systems for safely recycling food wastes into animal feed. This study quantifies the land use savings that could be realised by changing EU legislation to promote the use of food wastes as animal feed and reviews the policy, public, and industry barriers to the use of food waste as feed. Our results suggest that the application of existing technologies could reduce the land use of EU pork (20% of world production) by one fifth, potentially saving 1.8 million hectares of agricultural land. While swill presents a low-cost, low-impact animal feed, widespread adoption would require efforts to address consumer and farmer concerns over food safety and disease control.
Project description:The rapid population growth in developing countries has led to strong pressure on capture fisheries. However, capture fisheries have reached their maximal limits of fish production and are supplemented by farmed fish. The growth in aquaculture has led to high demand for fish feeds, which play a very important role in fish nutrition and health. Use of animal protein in fish feeds is expensive; hence, a majority of farmers from developing countries use local feed ingredients from plant origin as a source of dietary protein. However, these ingredients of plant origin provide the best natural substrates for fungi, which can be easily accompanied by mycotoxin development under suitable conditions. The locally made feed comprises ingredients such as soybeans, cottonseed cake, and wheat and maize bran which are mixed together and ground after which the compounded feed is pelleted and stored. Among the ingredients, maize and oilseeds are more susceptible for mycotoxigenic fungi compared to other ingredients. The outcomes of mycotoxin contamination in fish feeds are not different from other animal species intended for human consumption, and they are directly associated with production losses, particularly decreased weight gain and feed conversion, impaired immune system and reproductive performance, and increased fish mortality. Fish may also carry mycotoxin residues along the food chain, thus compromising human health. Hence, it is important to ensure the control of mycotoxin contamination in fish feeds, especially during the production and storage.
Project description:Increasing levels of antimicrobial resistance in human and veterinary medicine have raised concerns over the irresponsible use of antimicrobials. The role of administering antimicrobials in food producing animals most frequently falls to the farmer, therefore it is essential that their use of antimicrobials is both optimal and responsible. This study sought in-depth information on the drivers behind antimicrobial use behaviors and farmer attitudes to responsible use using a mixed-methodological approach. Initially, in-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with a purposively selected sample of farmers (n = 22). A thematic analysis approach was taken to identify key themes from these qualitative data. The generalizability and variation of these themes was then tested on a larger randomly selected sample of pig farmers through a questionnaire study (n = 261). The influences behind antimicrobial use were complex with multiple drivers motivating decisions. There was no consensual opinion on what farming systems resulted in either a low or high antimicrobial requirement however, farmers reported that good management practices, low stocking densities, and a high health status were associated with low antimicrobial use. Farmers expressed desire to avoid the long-term use of in-feed antimicrobials, but identified barriers to discontinuing such behaviors, such as pig morbidity, mortality, and economic losses. The high cost of antimicrobials was described as a motivation toward seeking alternative methods of controlling disease to prophylactic use; however, this expense was balanced against the losses from an increased burden of disease. The high financial costs involved in pig production alongside the economic uncertainty of production and pressure from retailers, were identified as limiting the scope for improvements in pig accommodation and facilities which could reduce the antimicrobial requirements on farm. Long-term, sustainable and economically stable relationships between retailers and farmers may allow farmers to make necessary investments in improving management and housing in order to reduce antimicrobial use. Greater use and more widespread deployment of effective vaccinations were highlighted by farmers as being a feasible alternative to antimicrobial use in preventing disease.
Project description:Mycotoxins are fungal metabolites that contaminate crops, food, and animal feeds. Aflatoxins and fumonisins are among the mycotoxins that have been increasingly reported to affect health and productivity of livestock globally. Given that the health and productivity of livestock can directly influence human food safety and security, a study was conducted to assess the levels and factors for aflatoxin and fumonisin contamination in feed and feed ingredients in Rwanda. Aflatoxins and fumonisins were analyzed in 3328 feed and feed ingredient samples collected at six time points between March and October 2017 in all 30 districts of Rwanda. Of the 612 participants providing samples, there were 10 feed processors, 68 feed vendors, 225 dairy farmers, and 309 poultry farmers. Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) was used for aflatoxin and fumonisin analyses. Mean aflatoxin levels of 108.83 µg/kg (Median (MD): 43.65 µg/kg), 103.81µg/kg (MD: 48.4 µg/kg), 88.64 µg/kg (MD: 30.90 µg/kg), and 94.95 µg/kg (MD: 70.45 µg/kg) were determined for dairy farmers, poultry farmers, feed vendors, and feed processors, respectively. Mean fumonisin levels were 1.52 mg/kg (MD: 0.71 mg/kg), 1.21 mg/kg (MD: 0.56 mg/kg), 1.48 mg/kg (MD: 0.76 mg/kg), and 1.03 mg/kg (MD: 0.47 mg/kg) for dairy farmers, poultry farmers, feed vendors, and feed processors, respectively. Aflatoxin contamination was significantly affected by time of sampling and district from which feed samples originated (<i>p</i> < 0.05). Fumonisins did not show any correlation trends. Ninety-two percent of survey participants were unaware of aflatoxins and fumonisins and their adverse effects. This study has provided the basic understanding of the extent of feed contamination across the country and has established a baseline for future interventions in Rwanda. Further studies are needed to explore strategies for mitigating mycotoxins in the feed value chain in Rwanda.
Project description:East Africa is undergoing rapid expansion of pig rearing, driven by increasing pork consumption. Introduction and expansion of pig production systems in this biodiverse landscape may create new risks, including zoonotic pathogen transmission. Historically, biosecurity measures have primarily been focused at farm level, ignoring the important function pig traders fulfill between farmers and consumers. This study interviewed pig traders operating at Uganda's only registered pork abattoir to describe their characteristics, business practices, biosecurity practices, and pig health management and reporting practices. All the traders were male, and nearly all (90.5%) relied on pig trading as their primary source of income. Most of the pigs brought for processing at the slaughterhouse were purchased from smallholder farms (87.3%). In addition, there was a significant difference in the high price paid per kilogram at farm gate by region (P = 0.005). High prices paid at farm gate were associated with holiday periods (P < 0.001), harvest season (P < 0.001), and drought (P < 0.001). Traders preferred buying live pigs from male farmers (88.9%) because they were considered the final decision makers and owned the pigs being sold. All pig traders were aware of clinical signs indicating a pig was sick. This study has provided baseline information on pig trader practices in Uganda. Improvements in local pork slaughterhouses and markets will benefit not only pig traders in accessing consistent customers but also individual pig farmers by increasing their market access. Finally, given their role as a link between farmers and consumers, traders would benefit from targeted inclusion in disease control and prevention strategies.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Adequate feeding is essential to realizing the potential of small ruminants to alleviate poverty among smallholder farmers. This study was conducted in two villages in the Ejura-Sekyedumase District of Ghana and was motivated by farmers' non-adoption of modern feed technologies, but more importantly by the need to understand the small ruminant feed system considering farmers' different socio-economic backgrounds and how these relate to small ruminant performance. In this study, the feed system was defined as the type, source and seasonality of feeds and how small ruminants access them. METHODS: Qualitative and quantitative methods were used to allow for triangulation. Data were collected in seven stages comprising key informant interviews, a census, a cultural domain study, botanical specimen collection and identification, focus group discussions, a household survey, and a small ruminant performance study. RESULTS: Farmers listed 175 items that are used as small ruminant feed and salience indexes were calculated. There was high consensus about the domain of small ruminant feeds, with 15 items comprising the consensus model. Respondent agreement scores correlated positively with age and negatively with list length. Respondents from matrilineal lineages had higher agreement scores than those from patrilineal lineages. Natural pasture and wild browse scored high in pair wise ranking by village and sex groups. Of the 33 feeds that farmers fed to goats, maize grains, cassava peels and Margaritaria discoidea were the most salient. Six major feed system groups based on access were identified at household level, which regrouped into three at village level based on feed type and source. Patrilineal households were more likely to tether their livestock. Significant differences were found between some socio-economic groups for pre-weaning average daily gain (ADG) of kids, but not for prolificacy of does. CONCLUSIONS: The need for nutritive and agronomic investigations into major feeds, the creation of non-cropping zones around village fringes and studies on labour demands of different feed systems are proposed. The insight gained in this study on farmers' perceptions and practices relating to small ruminant feeds could guide in the selection and introduction of feed innovations that fit into current feed systems to enhance adoption.
Project description:Farmers, food supply-chain entities, and policymakers need a simple but robust indicator to demonstrate progress toward reducing nitrogen pollution associated with food production. We show that nitrogen balance-the difference between nitrogen inputs and nitrogen outputs in an agricultural production system-is a robust measure of nitrogen losses that is simple to calculate, easily understood, and based on readily available farm data. Nitrogen balance provides farmers with a means of demonstrating to an increasingly concerned public that they are succeeding in reducing nitrogen losses while also improving the overall sustainability of their farming operation. Likewise, supply-chain companies and policymakers can use nitrogen balance to track progress toward sustainability goals. We describe the value of nitrogen balance in translating environmental targets into actionable goals for farmers and illustrate the potential roles of science, policy, and agricultural support networks in helping farmers achieve them.
Project description:Leptospirosis, brucellosis, and Q fever (coxiellosis) are bacterial zoonoses that cause acute febrile illness in people as well as reproductive losses in pigs. Pig keeping is an increasingly important livelihood to millions of smallholder farmers in Uganda because of exponential increases in demand for pork. The prevalence of leptospirosis and Q fever in pigs is unknown, and the few studies of porcine brucellosis have estimated a range of seroprevalence. Therefore, we undertook a prevalence survey of leptospirosis, brucellosis, and Q fever in pigs using quantitative real-time PCR to determine the potential importance of these zoonoses to the growing pig sector in Uganda. Six hundred forty-nine pigs were sampled in 2015-2016 at an urban pork slaughterhouse. Ten percent of pigs (<i>n</i> = 68) had leptospiral DNA in either their kidney or reproductive tissue. In adjusted analyses, variables predictive of leptospiral status included female sex (odds ratio [OR]: 2.37, <i>P</i> < 0.01) and pigs sampled in March 2016 (OR: 2.23, <i>P</i> = 0.02) and October 2016 (OR: 0.30, <i>P</i> = 0.04). DNA fingerprinting revealed circulation of at least four distinct serovars in these pigs. <i>Brucella</i> spp. and <i>Coxiella burnetii</i> DNA were not detected in any sampled pig. This is the first report of widespread circulation of pathogenic <i>Leptospira</i> spp. in pigs in Uganda, suggesting that leptospirosis likely has a greater impact on the health of pigs than was previously recognized. Pig farmers, pig traders, and slaughterhouse workers may be at greatest occupational risk because of their direct contact with infective leptospires in aborted fetuses, bodily fluids, and other tissues.