November, 1951Establishment of the Japan Formula Feed Mill Association
(a voluntary association)
In order to address the postwar emergency facing Japan’s livestock and feed industries in 1947 and 1948, the Japan Formula Feed Mill Association, made up of mixed feed mills, and the Association of Domestic Feed Ingredients Producers, made up of producers of new feeds, formed a partnership to implement a program of measures aimed at overcoming the crisis. With the abolition of regulations for the adjustment of feed supply and demand in January 1951, the two associations amalgamated under the name Japan Formula Feed Mill Association.
March, 1954Establishment of the Association of Japan Bonded Feed Mills
From around 1951, when the system for regulating feed distribution was abolished, the Japanese economy rapidly stabilized and dietary improvements created growing demand for livestock products. Various voluntary efforts were thus made to secure steady supplies of mixed feed, but the shift in grain imports from the pre-war Manchurian market to the United States and other markets led to extreme instability characterized by difficulty in securing feed ingredients and steep increases in import prices.
Two laws were enacted to deal with the situation: The Feed Supply-and-Demand Stabilization Law in December 1952 and the Law Concerning Safety Assurance and Quality Improvement of Feeds in April 1953. Steps were taken to stabilize feed supply and demand, achieve steady prices, and improve quality. In conjunction with the partial revision of the Customs Tariff Law in August 1953, the mixed feed mill approval system was recognized and the bonded feed mill association was reorganized under the name “Association of Japan Bonded Feed Mills.”
July, 1963Name Changed to Corporation of Japan Feed Mills
In conjunction with the partial revision of the Customs Tariff Law in March 1963, the former bonded mills all changed to approved mills. To reflect this change, the organization amended its name to Corporation of Japan Feed Mills and actively continued the activities described above.
May, 1974Name Changed to Japan Feed Manufacturers Association
The name of the organization was changed to Japan Feed Manufacturers Association in conjunction with revisions to laws governing organizational finances and eligibility for membership and to enhance the association’s public standing.
April, 2007Fiftieth Anniversary
In 1978 mixed feed production volume broke through the 20-million-ton mark and entered a period of stability, but due to the leveling off of national income, dramatic growth of the kind seen in the past could no longer be anticipated. International demand for ingredients such as feed grain increased, and a cycle of major price fluctuations reflecting worldwide trends in supply and demand, coupled with exchange rate fluctuations due to the international situation, inevitably caused fluctuations in mixed feed prices. This was a very difficult period for the feed and livestock industries, but they were able to come through it owing to the mixed feed price stabilization fund system.
From 1985 the feed industry entered a period of adapting to globalization. Production and distribution systems were further rationalized through measures such as promoting the construction of feed complexes in response to changes in the location of livestock production.
As we entered the twenty-first century, there were successive outbreaks of livestock diseases, including foot and mouth, BSE, and avian influenza. The need to respond to food safety concerns became even more pressing as it was confirmed that genetically modified grains such as StarLink and Bt-10 corn had been mixed with feed. As consumer concern over food safety and security further intensified, the mixed feed industry took the necessary steps to assure food safety, such as isolating manufacturing processes for cattle feed.
Thanks to the cooperation of everyone involved with the feed and livestock industries and the guidance of our predecessors, the association celebrated its fiftieth anniversary in April 2007.
Where are we Heading?
As mentioned in the final sentence of the association outline, in April 2007 JAFMA marked its fiftieth anniversary. Based on policy developed under the Agricultural Basic Law, the association’s path over the past fifty years has been characterized by the process of building business models to secure reasonably priced feedstuff ingredients from throughout the world, mix them appropriately, and supply them to livestock farmers in Japan.
Over those fifty years mixed feed production has risen from 1.23 million tons (in 1957) to 24 million tons (in 2006). Over the same period the number of hens and cocks raised has increased from 45.34 million to 281.3 million, the number of pigs from 1.54 million to 9.72 million, and the number of cattle from 3.17 million to 4.4 million. These figures show the critical role feed suppliers have played in the Japanese diet.
However, the business models built up by our many predecessors over these five decades have reached a major turning point with the passing of time. Association members are now facing six major trends.
Trend 1: Liberalization of Agricultural Imports and Reduction of Tariffs
Since the Uruguay Round, Japan has liberalized imports of many agricultural products. As a result, domestic livestock production volumes have contracted, and in 1995 production of mixed feed fell below the 25-million-ton mark. Agricultural producers are aging and there is a shortage of people willing to take over their farms. These problems will only become more serious in the future, and will be exacerbated by falling consumption associated with the shrinking population. Under these circumstances, it may be very difficult to maintain mixed feed production levels above the 20-million-ton mark. With no hope for quantitative growth, how should feed producers aim to survive?
Trend 2: The Advance of Globalization
The effects of globalization extend beyond the WTO and other trade issues; globalization means that worldwide problems relating to infectious diseases, energy, and the environment also have repercussions within Japan.
If a variety of agricultural products is imported from around the world and goods are transferred on a global scale, infectious diseases also become globalized. When large volumes of goods are imported, various pathogens and chemicals associated with them also flow into the country.
Based on experiences with BSE, avian influenza, foot and mouth, and other diseases, there is a clear risk that we could face real problems with infectious diseases and drug-resistant bacteria. It is also possible that new infectious diseases could emerge in association with global warming and pose a grave threat to the maintenance of livestock farming at current levels. Infectious diseases placing us at risk, such as BSE, avian influenza, and foot and mouth, all stem from the movement of goods. As globalization advances day by day, we need to prepare for the risk of unexpected outbreaks of such diseases.
Trend 3: The Rise of China and the Other BRIC Economies
The rise of the BRIC economies pushes up overall demand for grain. Due to a variety of factors, price hikes extend beyond feed grains to impact secondary ingredients such as soybean meal and fish meal. In the face of fierce international competition over the last fifty years, we have continued to rationalize and worked steadily to resolve each issue as it has arisen. We must continue to build an environment in which we can co-exist and prosper together with domestic producers.
The feed industry depends on the existence of a domestic livestock industry. Since stable development of the domestic livestock industry provides the driving force for the development of the feed industry, our primary obligation is to steadily supply high-quality, reasonably priced, safe and secure feed to Japan’s livestock farmers to ensure that they can continue their business under stable conditions.
Trend 4: Assuring Food Safety and Security
More than six years have passed since the outbreak of BSE in September 2001. Researchers have still not determined the source or the route of the infection. Thirty-five beasts were confirmed to have been diagnosed with BSE between the occurrence of the first case in September 2001 and March 2008. Twelve beasts have been diagnosed with BSE since 2006. The absence of panic is most likely due to the speedy implementation of safety measures for meat products and feed within a month of the BSE outbreak and the subsequent spread of a certain sense of security. The public was reassured by the implementation of such measures as blanket testing of all slaughtered cattle and removal of specified-risk materials (SRMs), and most of all because the spread of infection was halted by reinforcing feed regulations. This was the result of a concerted effort by the feed industry to undertake safety measures, including isolation of processing lines and steps to prevent cross-contamination. Area-specific efforts began in July 2003, and by the end of March 2005 all feed production plants nationwide had achieved complete isolation of processing lines. Blocking the BSE cycle, in which meat-and-bone meal acts as the source of infection, made a major contribution to assuring food safety and security.
The Food Safety Basic Law was enacted in 2003 against the backdrop of the BSE problem and successive scandals regarding false labeling of foods. This law designated producers of mixed feed as food production businesses. Having established a direct legal connection between the production of mixed feed and food production, the law obliged feed producers to ensure that safety standards for mixed feed were in line with those for food. Moreover, the chemical concentrations subject to safety regulations were equivalent to just a single drop diluted in a fifty-meter swimming pool. Significant costs and technological improvements were required to introduce regulatory standards including ISO, HACCP, and GMP-plus in order to properly control infinitesimal quantities of chemicals and ensure the safety and security of feed.
The import of feedstuffs is essential to large-volume production of mixed feed, yet Japanese safety standards are not always in accord with those of exporting countries. In order to ensure stable supply of moderately-priced feed, risks and costs need to be managed appropriately while confirming the safety of production processes. Future risk management - including risk communication - will need to respond broadly to the needs of consumers and feed buyers.
Trend 5: Addressing Environmental Issues and Effectively Utilizing Limited Resources
Large-scale climate change due to factors such as global warming may become an extremely serious issue with respect to securing feedstuffs. According to projections made using the Earth Simulator supercomputer, in fifty-years time rice will be planted in July in Japan (Honshu) [at present, the optimum season for rice-planting is during April to May]. This suggests the possibility of major changes to the nature of Japanese agriculture as a whole, and thus to the livestock industry. Furthermore, these dramatic changes may occur over just fifty years. What kind of solutions should we prepare in the face of these realities?
We have hopes for biotechnology. The advance of genetic modification (GM) technology has shown us that it is possible to develop plants capable of being grown with seawater or withstanding drought. However, we have also learned that GM technology is not a panacea. GM technology has not been able to overcome consumers’ concerns about safety and security, and there is no prospect of it being able to solve all problems. Moreover, the technology was developed from the perspective of more efficient livestock breeding. However, concentrating livestock into the smallest possible spaces and solely pursuing efficiency creates environmental issues and in Europe is being questioned from the perspective of livestock welfare.
Fortunately, systems for ensuring steady supply of feed grain have functioned effectively over the past fifty years. At certain junctures support was available from government policies, while at others, substitute feedstuffs were secured. Looking ahead to the next fifty years, however, will systems for steadily securing feed grain without depleting the earth’s limited resources keep functioning effectively? What shape should the livestock industry, which feeds edible grain to livestock and efficiently produces animal protein, take in the future?
In the United States, ethanol production using corn as the main raw material is increasing sharply. The aim is to break away from energy policies that are dependent on oil from the Middle East. Moreover, using ethanol produced from plant material is also regarded as effective from the environmental policy perspective, since it does not impinge on the issue of CO2 emission rights. The passing of the US Energy Policy Act of 2005 and Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 resulted in large volumes of corn being diverted to ethanol production, and prices of corn and other feed grains have maintained high levels.
Energy, environmental, and other policies in the United States have major effects on us, as we are heavily dependent on US-produced feed grains. Looking ahead, what feedstuffs should we obtain, where should we source them from, and how should we secure supply? These will be critical issues related to guaranteeing food security.
Trend 6: Fostering Consumer Trust
Incidents such as false labeling and outbreaks of BSE, avian influenza, and other diseases do more harm than the direct damage caused by infectious diseases. It has become clear that causing distrust and unease on the part of consumers shakes the very foundations of corporate business and puts its future in jeopardy. In this sense, risk management is crucial to the continuation of corporate business. How should the feed industry, which plays a part in supplying food to the public, foster consumer trust?
Japanese schools are starting dietary education lessons to teach children, bearers of the nation’s future, about the significance of food. Having supported the supply of feed to Japan’s livestock industry for the past fifty years, what approaches can we take to today’s children? Considering prospects for the next fifty years, we may be at a point where we can shape Japan’s livestock industry to create a food culture based on the features of Japan’s terrain and climate.
Faced with waves of change that continue to advance at considerable speed, we are already setting a new course. Responding appropriately to domestic and international circumstances, JAFMA’s mission is to play a role in the stable supply of livestock products through the steady supply of feed to livestock farms. Bearing in mind the scope and importance of the mission entrusted to us, all members of the association will continue our efforts to contribute to the advancement of Japan’s livestock industry.