The FAO’s latest report claims that, “The effective and efficient utilization of fruit and vegetable wastes will reduce the cost of animal feeding thereby increasing farmers’ profits, generate an array of value-added products and help in waste management and reduction of environmental pollution”.
The Pig Idea welcomes the report, entitled Utilization of fruit and vegetable wastes as livestock feed and as substrates for generation of other value-added products. This in depth analysis rightly demonstrates the suitability of many food waste sources for feedstock, and also the potential benefits of using unconventional feed sources for both farmers and the environment.
Livestock farming is quickly becoming one of the fastest growing areas of agriculture in the developing world, which when paired with increasing demands for meat in these regions, only further supports the argument that we need to change the way in which we farm animals. The report claims that “The global price of feed ingredients such as maize, wheat, fish meal and soybean meal has increased by 160, 118, 186 and 108 percent, respectively in the last decade”, and suggests that “to meet the nutrient requirements of livestock and to sustain their productivity and profitability seem only possible if non-conventional, alternate feed resources are explored.”
One of the largest contributors to the livestock’s impacts to the environment is what they are fed. Not only is the use of primary raw food stuffs, such as wheat, maize, soy and other commodity crops, for animal feed wholly inefficient in terms of feed conversion ratios, but the resources and land-use change required for the growing, harvesting and transporting of these crops makes the livestock industry the single largest contributor to global green house gas emissions.Increased livestock production will only continue to exasperate the problems associated with growing vast quantities of these crops for animals. Many countries in the developing regions have large feed deficits despite rapidly growing livestock industries, leading to increased demand for imported grain for feed.
The report reviews the suitability of a variety of fruit and vegetables food wastes such as baby corn husk, cauliflower and cabbage leaves, pea pods, sarson saag waste, culled snow peas and tomato pomace; citrus, carrot and bottle gourd pulp; banana and mango peels. Whilst both ruminant and non-ruminant livestock are included in the analysis, a variety of fruit and vegetables wastes were identified as suitable for pig feed, whilst also proving to reduce feed costs for farmers. Banana leaf meal and peel; mango peel; carrots; potatoes; pumpkins; and tomatoes were all recommended as suitable feedstock for pigs.
The nutritional worth of fruit and vegetable wastes from supermarket shelves was very briefly assessed in the report. However, the use of these former foodstuffs was limited to their inclusion in ruminant diets, neglecting their potential use in pig and chicken diets. The Pig Idea highlights the need to encourage the use of surplus, or otherwise wasted fruit and vegetable waste from supermarkets shelves for non-ruminant animal feed. Supermarkets should also be encouraged to divert bakery and confectionary waste that is not suitable for human consumption, to livestock feed.
The full report can be read online here: http://www.fao.org/docrep/018/i3273e/i3273e.pdf
Oink us your thoughts @ThePigIdea #thepigidea