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NPA sets out pig industry position on soya sourcing

12th Feb 2020 / By Alistair Driver

It is incumbent on the entire supply chain to try to deliver commitments on sustainably sourced soya, the NPA has stressed. 

soyaIn a new briefing on soya posted on the NPA website, NPA policy services officer Lizzie Wilson sets out the current position of the UK pig sector in relation to soya use.

It is estimated that the UK imports 3.2 million tonnes of soya bean equivalents annually, in the form of soya beans, soya bean meal and oil, of which 68% is sourced from South America (predominantly Argentina).

Soybean products are excellent sources of protein for pigs as their amino acid profiles complement those of cereal grains and it is estimated that, in the EU, 90% of all soya (both imported and grown) is used to feed livestock

The NPA briefing points out, however, that athough the pig industry is still reliant on soya as an efficient source of protein, it has, over the past decade, halved the inclusion of soya in pig diets from 20% to just under 10% by substituting rapemeal, peas, beans and distillers waste as sources of crude protein.

"The industry continues to research other protein sources and will endeavour to reduce its use of soya where possible," the briefing states. 

"The British pig industry already uses 1.23m tonnes a year of co and by-product from the human food chain which accounts for 43.9% of total pig feed produced; notably rapemeal, wheatfeed, biscuitmeal, cake, bread, cereal products, starch extraction products and whey. If these foods were not used by the pig industry they would, in the main, go to landfill or anaerobic digestion."

But soya is still the most efficient source of protein and by far the cheapest. Alternative protein sources are either not economically or practically feasible just yet.

So it is, therefore, incumbent on the entire supply chain to try to deliver commitments on sustainably sourced soya. "Retailers must not simply dictate to their supply chain with the expectation that they will be able to comply with their demands at no extra cost," the briefing stresses. 

The briefing also points out that it is incorrect to associate European feed industry use of soybean meal with the Amazonian forest fires.

European feed companies do not source soya from land deforested after 2008 from the Amazon Biome as it is excluded, due to the Amazon Soy Moratorium (ASM). The ASM was developed in 2006, with the support of FEFAC, traders and the NGO community and is still in effect today.

It is estimated that as of October 2019, 27% of soya consumed in the UK was covered by a
deforestation and conversion free soya standard. This is a significant increase (12%) from the baseline report (2018), which showed only 15% of soya was covered by a deforestation and conversion free standard.

The NPA is a member of the UK Roundtable on Sustainable Soya, which was established
in 2018 to provide UK industry a pre-competitive forum to discuss and work together towards the secure, resilient, supply of deforestationfree sustainable soya to the UK.

  • You can read more about the NPA's position on key industry issues in our Briefings Section.