Nothing can stop international exchange in livestock farming. The "Sino-European Pig Summit Webinar", the first virtual pig summit, was held on the 11th May. At the invitation of DLG-International GmbH and the European Pig Producers (EPP), reg. Ass., almost 200 practitioners and experts from China, Germany, France, Spain, Denmark, South Africa, the USA, Russia, Thailand, Vietnam and a further 16 countries took part in the virtual meeting. The participants also included media representatives from nine countries.
During the nearly three-hour webinar, current challenges and prospects for the branch were outlined in brief presentations and discussed by the participants. Those from outside China were keen to learn how the country had recovered from the impact of the latest Covid-19 and African Swine Fever (ASF) epidemics and how far the transformation and re-launch of Chinese pig farms had progressed.
Elaborations by Dr Ma Chuang, Secretary General of the China Veterinary Association, showed that transformation was affecting the entire value chain and that much had already been achieved. In turning farms that had previously been small backyard activities into professionally managed large-scale enterprises, a keen interest had also been taken in strategies and experience from Europe regarding biosafety and hygiene concepts.
In brief presentations, experts from the export-oriented Chinese enterprise Beijing Feeding Group explained the concepts and innovations among Chinese animal feed companies. In this context, as a representative of German companies, SANO China presented its success story in cross-frontier developments and was seen as a good example of foreign companies that had established themselves in China.
The presentation by Sven Häuser of the “DLG-Fachzentrum Landwirtschaft” (DLG agricultural expertise centre) gave an overview of developments in pig farming statistics and farm-gate prices in Europe, and Häuser interpreted their most recent courses in the context of African swine fever (ASF) and Covid-19.
Himself a pig-farming practitioner, EPP President Gert van Beek gave an account of the biosafety standards established on his farm and how he was addressing current challenges. Van Beek stressed that animal health, animal welfare, environmental protection and economics had to be in harmony, and must be communicated to the public as well. Only with such an approach could farms develop sustainably in their respective locations.
Excellent and active participation demonstrates the desire for global exchange also in times of more severe travel restrictions. Therefore, further webinars are planned for poultry and dairy cattle as well as aquaculture:
• 25th May 2020 “1st Sino-European Poultry Summit Webinar”
• 08th June 2020 “1st Sino-European Dairy Summit Webinar”
• 22th June 2020 “1st Sino-European Aquaculture Webinar”
In China, intensive preparations are already underway for post-pandemic activities, and one is looking forward to “EuroTier China” opening its doors from the 7th to the 9th September 2020. For the second time, the event will be taking place in Chengdu, and it is hoped that many exhibitors and participants will be coming from Europe, in order to transform virtual into real exchange.
Sven Häuser, German Agricultural Society, reg. Ass., Frankfurt/Main, Germany