FEFAC President Ruud Tijssens illustrated that unprecedented growth opportunities are foreseen for the global agricultural industry because of increasing demand for agricultural products; however, the social reluctance to accept modern technology to play a part is posing obstacles for the European continent. He mentioned growing population density in European areas with livestock farming activities as a particular challenge that will need understanding from both parties.
Tijssens made clear that despite the highly efficient and professional European system of agriculture, growth expectations for the coming decade are still limited. Public reluctance towards modern technology sometimes puts a hold on progress and growth opportunities of European agriculture, specifically in Northern Europe where it leads to delays and cost increases when farmers apply for building permits for new facilities. Modern technology for example allows for precision feeding and computerized information which can contribute to the reduction of the environmental footprint of livestock farming. Given the expected growth in demand for agricultural products will take place in any case, Tijssens therefore foresees growth to mainly take place in China and South-America.
Tijssens deplored the current social state of mind where people are generally disconnected from the reality of modern livestock farming, thereby further undermining the social acceptance of high-density agriculture and threatening the level playing field and European strategic raw material supply. However, he stressed that social acceptance also creates new opportunities for the feed industry. The increasing demand for socially accepted slow-growth meat production will place improvements in feed efficiency as the main driver behind the success of a sustainable production line in a world where raw material sources are limited.