Nothing can stop international dialogue in animal production: the first virtual pig summit, the 'Sino-European Pig Summit Webinar', took place on 11 May. At the invitation of DLG-International GmbH and the European Pig Producers (EPP) club, almost 200 farmers and experts from Germany, France, Spain, Denmark, South Africa, the United States, Russia, Thailand, Vietnam and another 17 countries took part in the virtual summit. The live broadcast participants also included media representatives from nine countries.
Current challenges and opportunities within the industry were presented in short contributions and discussed between the participants during the approximately three-hour webinar. The participants from outside of China were interested to hear how China has bounced back from the shock of the recent COVID-19 and African swine fever (ASF) pandemics and how Chinese pig farms are planning to rebuild/restart. The explanations given by Dr Ma Chuang, General Secretary of the China Veterinary Association, clearly showed that this reconstruction affects the entire value added chain and that good progress has been made. In restructuring the farms to move away from small-scale backyard production to professionally managed, large farming operations, there is great interest in strategies and experience from Europe in terms of biosafety and hygiene concepts.
In short presentations, experts from the export-oriented 'Beijing Feeding Group' explained the concepts and innovations of Chinese feed companies. As a representative of German companies, SANO China shared the story of its success in cross-border development in this context and is seen as a positive example of foreign companies that have gained a foothold in China.
In his presentation, Sven Häuser of the DLG Competence Center Agriculture provided an overview of pig number and producer price developments in Europe and interpreted their recent shifts in the course of the ASF and COVID-19 outbreaks. As an experienced pig breeder and Topigs nucleus operator, EPP President Gert van Beek showed which biosafety standards apply on his farm and how he is meeting the current challenges. His view is that animal health, animal welfare, environmental protection and economy have to be brought into line with each other and communicated to the general public. Only this will enable farms to develop sustainably at their respective locations.
The very positive and active participation in the webinar confirms the desire for global exchange even in times of tighter travel restrictions. Webinars for poultry, dairy cattle and aquaculture are therefore also planned over the next few weeks (https://www.eurotierchina.com/events):
- 25 May 2020 '1st Sino-European Poultry Summit Webinar'
- 8 June 2020 '1st Sino-European Dairy Summit Webinar'
- 22 June 2020 '1st Sino-European Aquaculture Webinar'
The Chinese are already undertaking intensive preparations for the period following the pandemic and are looking forward to the second instalment of 'EuroTier China' from 7 to 9 September 2020 in Chengdu – hopefully once again with lots of exhibitors and participants from Europe in order to switch from virtual to real exchange (https://www.eurotierchina.com/).