The Qcom.es Food Forum, together with the collaboration of Carne y Salud, has held the online conference Presents and Future of livestock. The conference included a presentation by Esperanza Orellana, General Director of Productions and Markets (MAPA), who highlighted the important contribution of livestock to the Spanish trade balance: 20.3 billion euros. It means 18% of Spanish exports, ahead of automotive.
Orellana stressed that “European livestock is diverse and biodiverse. In Spain there are 165 breeds of cattle, with heterogeneous production models. All of them complementary.”
But livestock has a number of challenges:
- Those of the pandemic
- The sustainability
- The geopolitical framework
- Farm profitability
“Regarding the challenge of the pandemic, I have to highlight the excellent work done by the professionals in the sector and the hospitality sector must be valued, which is the one that has been most affected.” The challenge of sustainability, explains Orellana, “it is necessary to discern the impact of livestock from other economic activities. All have had their impact on the environment. But livestock has been the productive sector that has lowered its emissions the most over the environment. Livestock and agriculture are related to climate change without any criteria. ”
Framed in this aspect of sustainability, it is also related to animal welfare. “The changes are taking place very quickly. You have to communicate them to society. You have to communicate all the good things that livestock farms do.”
Regarding the profitability of the farms, the general director of Producciones y Mercados added that “only profitable farms can successfully face the above points. Spain is making a great effort so that no one, no farmer, is left behind. Through European funds, instruments worth 1,000 million will be put into operation in three years to promote biosecurity, modernization of equipment, livestock and agriculture 4.0, together with clean energy management.
Anafric also present through Ovicebo
In addition, there were presentations by Carlos Martín Ovilo, Deputy Head of Unit. Animal Products Unit. DG AGRI. European Commission, and Manuel Del Pozo Ramos, Market Manager for Sheep and Goats. Animal Products Unit. DG AGRI. European Commission, who will present their vision on the future of livestock in Europe.
A round table was then organized under the title “Main challenges of livestock production in Spain”, where Jaume Bernís, head of Livestock in the Executive Commission of the Coordinator of Farmers and Livestock Organizations (COAG) intervened; Miguel Ángel Higuera, director of the National Association of Pig Livestock Producers (Anprogapor); Matilde Moro, manager of the Spanish Association of Beef Beef Producers (Asoprovac); Román Santalla, Secretary of Livestock of the Union of Small Farmers and Ranchers (UPA); Juan Rafael Leal, vice president of Agro-alimentary Cooperatives of Spain; Manuel Vázquez, head of the Beef Sector of the Agrarian Association of Young Farmers (ASAJA); Julián Piraces, president of the National Association of Cattle Ranchers-Recriadores of Sheep Meat Cattle (Ovicebo); and José Luis Tainta Pikabea, representative of the Association of Rabbit Producers (Cuniber).
With regard to Anafric, Julián Piracés, as president of Ovicebo (present in Anafric), highlighted the high ecological and landscape value associated with sheep, although in the last 30 years, “the herd has been reduced by 40% .. very possibly as a result of profitability.
Sheep has a behavior, in terms of consumption, its own: it is concentrated in certain celebrations and exports are atomized, “although now after Brexit we are the main producer in Europe. We can boast of being extensive livestock by nature. A farmer is interested that his herd is in poor condition because it goes against his principles, first, and second … for profitability. ”
Piracés also emphasized that “the sector needed to communicate more or convey a positive image of our livestock” and also spoke of “barcodependence” as far as exports are concerned. “15% is exported, on which the other 85% depends,” explains the president of Ovicebo. “Without denying the ship, we would have to be fighting to market meat with the quality seal, instead of the animal.”
Julián Piracés also spoke of the so-called “artificial meat”. “It’s a scam. If they tell you ‘try it, it looks like meat … then eat real meat.’ In our sector I have not seen a staunch defense.”