EU eyes relaxing PAP ban amid tight oilseed feed supply

  • Market: Agriculture
  • 09/04/21

The EU is considering relaxing its ban on feeding processed animal protein (PAP) to domestic livestock amid tighter oilseed protein supply and surging international prices.

The PAP feed ban was introduced in May 2001 to safeguard EU livestock health after the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) disease depleted European cattle numbers. But support for the ban has been waning amid thinning alternative protein feed sources.

EU livestock farmers have relied more heavily on using protein feeds from crushed oilseeds including rapeseed, soybean and sunflower, but domestic supply has trailed consistently below demand, pulling buyers in the import market to cover the shortfall.

For the current 2020-21 marketing year ending on 30 June, EU oilseed production is estimated at 10.4pc below the five-year average of 30.65mn t, at 27.46mn t. This also trails the previous 2019-20 EU oilseed production of 28.37mn t.

Surging import prices have put added cost pressure on EU livestock farmers, with fob rapeseed prices from Ukraine and Canada — key suppliers for the EU — rising by $99/t and $293/t, respectively, since July, data from the EU show.

Fob Canada prices peaked at an all-time high of $672/t on 24 March, taking direction from both tighter domestic and international oilseed supply.

Tighter supply has pulled international vegetable oil prices to their highest in a decade, with the UN's Food Agriculture Organisation's (FAO) latest vegetable oil price index currently averaging at 148.5 points for 2021, its highest since 2011.

Against this backdrop, the move from the EU to consider relaxing its ban on PAP to livestock — which would include use of insect and poultry-pig PAP — could provide support to livestock farmers across the EU, by limiting reliance on thinning global oilseed protein supply and volatile import prices.

The relaxation is currently being proposed by the European Commission's Food Safety Committee but will not extend to meat and bone meals (MBM), which are still considered more harmful.

EU documents show industry experts believe that the proposals for relaxing PAP regulations have a good chance of gaining written approval when the committee next meets this month or in May.

Global oilseed prices $/t

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