ANIMAL feed refers to food that is specifically formulated and fed to domesticated animals, such as cattle, poultry, fish, and pets, in order to provide the necessary nutrients for their growth, maintenance and reproduction.
The availability and utilisation of these feed resources vary depending on regional and seasonal factors, such as climate, water availability and crop production. The animal feed industry in the country is largely dominated by small- and medium-sized enterprises, and is rapidly growing due to the increasing demand.
Come to think of it, the growth of the local feed industry is a testament to the country’s thriving agriculture sector and its commitment to supporting the livestock and poultry industries.
However, the industry is facing major challenges that are hampering its growth. There is a serious shortage of raw material. Pakistan relies
heavily on imported raw material for animal feed. We now need to encourage in every possible way local agriculture and farming practices, and explore alternative sources to address the issue in a professional manner.
Economic factors, such as inflation, high interest rates, and devaluation of the local currency, also affect the profitability of feed mills. Diversifying product lines, controlling costs, and maintaining a strong financial position are needed to mitigate the impact of economic factors.
We also have to live with inadequate technology and poor infrastructure. The industry lacks proper research and development facilities and is still using traditional and outdated technology, which reduces the efficiency and quality of its products. The government should provide support and investment to modernise the equipment that is being used in the industry.
The animal feed industry is a major contributor to environmental pollution and degradation. Implementing eco-friendly practices, such as using biodegradable materials, reducing waste and emissions, and encouraging the use of renewable energy sources can help reduce the impact of bio-spherical contaminations.
Lack of adequate quality control steps can result in substandard products, which may lead to inconsistent quality of feed as well as damage to the commercial reputation of the mill.
By implementing stringent quality control measures, feed mills can ensure the safety and quality of their products and maintain their reputation in the market.
Power failures can disrupt mills operations and raise production costs, resulting in significant losses. There should be alternative and energy-efficient technologies, such as solar energy, backup generators, etc., so that feed mills may reduce their energy costs, and, at the same time, ensure continuity of the production process during power shortages.
Inefficient transportation and logis- tical networks can lead to higher costs and longer delivery times. By investing in more efficient transportation and logistical networks, feed mills can reduce delivery times while bringing the costs down.
The government provides limited support to the animal feed industry, and there is a lack of incentives for investment in the sector. Feed mills bodies should seek government subsidies and tax incentives to promote local production, and investment in renewable energy sources to reduce energy costs.
Finding and retaining skilled labour can be a major challenge for feed mills. Providing competitive compensation and benefits, investing in employee training and development, and promoting a positive work environment is needed immediately to attract and retain skilled labour.
There is a lack of awareness about animal nutrition among the farmers, which can lead to improper feeding practices. Feed mills should conduct training and awareness programmes for farmers on the importance of proper animal nutrition and feeding practices.
The lack of regulations and enforce-ment in the feed industry can lead to the use of harmful ingredients and unethical practices. The government should enforce regulations to ensure the quality and safety of feed, and regularly inspect feed mills to prevent unethical practices.
In order to overcomr these challenges the country requires a proactive approach in addition to innovative solutions, and a commitment to target continuous improvement. By imple-menting relevant strategies, the government can ensure the survival and growth of the animal feed industry.
Published in Dawn, March 29th, 2023