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AFMA steps up to the plate

AFMA steps up to the plate

The South African agricultural landscape has changed dramatically over the past21 years- a clear indication that agriculture remains one of the most dynamic sectors within the South African economy. Therefore, individuals, corporations and associations must be able to change and adapt as conditions demand.

From Table 1 it is clear that AFMA feed sales enjoyed a generic growth phase from 2001/02 to 2007/08- with poultry showing much ofthe growth – followed by the global economic meltdown (2008/09). After this downward trend, volume growth was revived as membership grew (2009/10 to 2011/12).

However, during 2012/13, AFMA felt the first real effect of poultry dumping/imports (mainly from the EU,US and Brazil), as indicated by the growth figures.

Over the next four years, AFMA had to cope with this and various other challenges.

Unfortunately, the dumping/imports coincided with the worst drought ever faced by the country’s agricultural sector.

This exacerbated the poultry challenge exponentially and, on the livestock side, forced farmers to sell off herds due to a lack of availability and affordability offeed. This resulted in a huge decline in livestock numbers.

The joint effect of the poultry and livestock challenges is evident in AFMA’s latest reported annual feed sales figures, which have never in its history showed a negative trend.

While enjoying positive generic growth over the years, AFMA’s foresight enabled solid capacity building in strategic segments of its core business, of which lobbying and cooperation, self-regulation, technical and regulatory, and trade and procurement are some of the key pillars currently anchoring the organisation’s services.

Stepping into a new future

AFMA’s foresight is starting to show a return on investment, as the animal feed and livestock sectors find themselves entering a new regulatory environment (strongly driven by consumer food safety demands) in which they will have to operate – both locally and internationally.

Focusing on the technical and regulatory pillar, AFMA has been involved in the drafting of the new Feeds and Pet Food Bill, earmarked for completion this year. The draft bill’s core strategic goal is to:

  • Protect consumers and users of feed and pet food.
  • Disseminatean efficient and effective traceability system.
  • Ensure compliance with food safety requirements.

Safe feed for safe food

The new bill will seea shift away from preregistration of final feed products before being released in the market to the licensing and registration of manufacturing and mixing facilities producing or mixing final feeds.

Going forward, the key words will therefore be food safety and traceability, with no entity producing feed and food falling outside the scope of the draft bill.

AFMA, with its wealth of nutritional know-how and regulatory expertise, has already started reaching out to feed roleplayers who may not have been classified in the same category as AFMA members due to current legislation.

According to the new bill, these role-players/manufacturers will fall in the same category of activities as current AMFA members, which will broaden the organisation’s scope of membership.

AFMA awaits the implementation of the newly drafted Feeds and Pet Food Bill, which is expected to change the landscape of the animal feed and livestock sector, bringing ‘safe feed for safe food’ to the modern consumer.

By De Wet Boshoff, executive director, AFMA

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