Feed & Food Assurance Programme (Programa Feed & Food Seguro) Project for regulatory harmonization and safety in respect of animal feed in Latin America and the Caribbean
The project's aim was to contribute to regulatory harmonization, animal feed safety and Latin American integration. To this end, it was considered vital to ensure public private cooperation and the support of the relevant international agencies.
The project succeeded in contributing to the development and consolidation of public private cooperation strategies for regulatory harmonization, capacity building and institutional strengthening. It is hoped that this will ensure food safety, production chain sustainability, regional integration, and the facilitation of Latin American trade.
It should be emphasized that the work conducted jointly by the public and private sectors – with technical support from international organizations – made it possible to meet the set objectives, although the role played by official regulatory bodies throughout the process must not be overlooked.
According to data from FEEDLATINA, Latin America was responsible for 17% of total animal feed production in 2013, with an output of 141,347 million tonnes. The region is a net exporter of meat, dairy produce and other products of animal origin. Its main destination markets are Europe, North America, the Middle East, China and Japan. Argentina, Brazil and Mexico are its primary exporters.
The Latin American animal feed sector depends to a large extent on trade dynamics between countries. It relies on supplies of micro ingredients, primarily additives, from Europe, China and the United States, while requiring, at the intra regional level, large volumes of inputs such as cereals, oilseed, pre mixes, mineral ingredients, vitamins, amino acids, meal derived from animals and plants, and pet food. Animal feed is a product of great importance. Depending on the species concerned, feed can account for up to 70% of total production costs.
This overall picture of the region's complex trade relations highlights the need for greater regional trade integration. Such integration should focus on the reduction of tariff and non tariff barriers, particularly in terms of SPS measures and customs procedures.
Trade integration must, however, take account of the latent challenges that exist in the sector, such as "mad cow" disease, dioxins, residues resulting from the improper use of veterinary drugs and agricultural chemicals, and the lack of public information regarding new technologies. Proactivity within the industry and regulatory harmonization are therefore necessary. These elements must be strengthened by implementing good manufacturing practices throughout the chain, from the stage at which inputs for agricultural activities and animal feed are produced and processed, through to the storage of the product at distribution centres and the retail marketing phase.
Development of coordination and liaison mechanisms between public and private actors in the animal feed sector
The Latin American Animal Feed Network (REDLATAM) was created to foster scientific and professional exchange, and integration, among participating countries. Participants include actors from the public and private animal feed sectors. REDLATAM currently operates through the Joint Technical Committee (CTM) and has become successfully incorporated into the FAO led Feed Safety Multi Stakeholder Partnership and its Global Feed Safety Platform.
The CTM also provides a forum for institutional dialogue that has been duly formalized within the legal and executive framework of FEEDLATINA and under the FEEDLATINA Feed & Food Assurance Programme. The continuity of the CTM is supported by the ten participating countries through letters of commitment, and the Committee has been recognized by FAO, the OIE and the IICA, which have agreed to stay on as Committee members. The beneficiary countries have also participated actively in the CTM, thereby transforming it into the main regional forum for matters pertaining to animal feed.
Development and approval, by the actors concerned, of tools to promote regulatory equivalence/harmonization
A glossary of animal feed product terminology (Glosario de Conceptos de Productos para Alimentación Animal) was drawn up and includes a comparative matrix. A follow up proposal was also introduced with a view to discussing the nomenclature used for ingredients and products destined for animal feed. The glossary has been approved by the ten participating countries and three participating international bodies. It has been circulated, and has been transmitted to the CTM, which will update it as and when necessary.
In addition, six national and regional official regulatory instruments and procedures were selected and examined: certificates of free sale (CLV), CLV digital signatures, product marking/labelling, certificates of origin, certificates of good manufacturing practices, and establishment registration and authorization systems. A regulatory harmonization/equivalence agenda has been defined for these instruments and procedures, and will be implemented once the project has ended. It will comprise four procedures that are recognized by the international bodies concerned (certificate of free sale, marking/labelling, declaration of good manufacturing practices, and certificate of origin).
Strengthening the technical capacity of public and private actors in the region's animal feed sector
Staff from official bodies in the ten participating countries received training on regulatory aspects, risk analysis (aspects thereof and applicability), good manufacturing practices, Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP), auditing, and good laboratory practices, at meetings organized by the CTM and through national and regional courses. Private actors from nine of the countries attended training sessions on good manufacturing practices, HACCP, contaminants, and risk analysis. In total, training was provided to some 600 people from both the public and private sector.
Other developments included the introduction of a technical register of animal feed analysis laboratories in the region, which includes details of each laboratory's analytical capacities. To this end, a survey was issued, to which the ten participating countries responded, and secondary information was compiled. The register has been circulated at both the national and regional level.
Strengthening the CTM and dissemination of its achievements
Ensuring that the CTM remains a forum for public private cooperation on animal feed at regional level is key to the sustainability of the results and benefits of the project. The role played by FEEDLATINA is vital in this respect, given its trajectory and legitimacy as an organization committed to the sustainable development and social valorization of the sector, and the trust placed in it by regulatory bodies and international agencies.
At a second stage of CTM development and on the basis of the project's achievements, it is vital to make progress in respect of issues such as trade enhancement and the development of good regulatory practices – areas in which harmonization/equivalence and capacity building efforts must continue and be reinforced.
The project must consolidate and disseminate its achievements at national, regional and global level through the joint efforts of the CTM and FEEDLATINA (as coordinating entity), with support from the STDF to facilitate the task of dissemination.
Preparation and implementation of the project
In regional projects such as this, where participants include a great many countries that differ significantly in terms of levels of development and problems to be addressed, it is vital that the actors concerned engage in a pre project work process with a view to building trust and ensuring the engagement of the parties when the time comes to formulate and implement the project.
Mechanisms are required to govern and strategically manage the projects. Such mechanisms must guarantee participative and transparent implementation and ensure that all the actors concerned feel part of the process and are able to formulate proposals.
Public private cooperation projects require spaces for frank, direct and transparent dialogue, where international bodies can play the role of facilitator.
Monitoring, evaluation and communication were key to ensuring the achievement of the desired outcomes and should continue during the post project stage in order to guarantee the effectiveness of the CTM's work in terms of organization and operational aspects, through the implementation of its 2018 2019 action plan.
Appropriate and structured monitoring and evaluation mechanisms are essential for projects of this type. Such mechanisms should be incorporated into budget costs right from the project design phase.
Replicability and continuity of the project
Public private cooperation is key to improving safety levels and strengthening trade, especially within the animal feed sector. The project has been an emblematic and pioneering experience, one that should extend into the future and be replicated in other countries and regions.
Regulatory harmonization/equivalence in respect of animal feed is a strategy that will encourage a move towards good regulatory practices in the production process and increase trade in animal feed products.
In Latin America, the animal feed sector should be assessed and studied in greater depth in terms of both production and trade. It is recommended that a regional information system be developed that encompasses official bodies, industry and international agencies. This system should have the political support of the authorities responsible for defining public trade policy.