“Three years ago we were involved only in a handful of countries in the Middle East and Africa, but in the intervening time, we have expanded geographically, gaining traction in countries as diverse as Jordan, Algeria, the Emirates, South Africa, and, more recently, Sudan, through a distributor network.
Evidently, before the conflicts in Yemen and Syria, we were looking at a growth rate of around 30% - that is forecast lower now and reviewed every six months. But, regardless, our sales in those markets are on an upward curve,” said Gilles De Feyter, Nutriad sales manager MEA.
Earlier this month, the Belgian feed additives producer hosted a three day “knowledge sharing platform” with its distributors in those regions. “They are our eyes and ears on the ground. And the event, which we host every 18 months or so, helps facilitate business as distributors see they are part of bigger group and not just working in isolation,” he said.
Nutriad is flagging up the value of its additives that bolster the animal’s gut health or improve feed palatability to encourage greater intake during temperature spikes with the goal of reducing animal mortality and financial loss for MEA livestock producers.
“Heat stress and health challenges are the two biggest hurdles, poultry and ruminant farmers in those markets face. Every February/March, we can see the negative impact of avian influenza on poultry stocks – that disease takes a huge chunk of birds out of the market.
And periods of very high temperatures in those countries will see the larger ruminants drink and eat less, obviously to the detriment of productivity,” De Feyter told us.
Mycotoxin risk management
The attendees, he said, were also given insights into the scale of the mycotoxin threat, and the level of risk mitigation that MEA countries, which, in the main, are forced to import feed ingredients, are willing to take on:
“The Middle East and Africa are extremely price sensitive markets. Often it comes down to a choice between sourcing or management strategies in relation to mycotoxin control. While some customers are extremely strict with their raw material suppliers, looking to get the best feed with the lowest contamination levels, others race to the bottom on price.
We want to educate our distributors about what is needed on a day to day basis in relation to mycotoxin risk management and the importance of focusing on multiple mycotoxins and not just the most widely known ones,” said the Nutriad representative.
He said there is also great diversity in the regions in relation to scale of producer – Egypt’s poultry sector is made of 30 to 35% vertical integrators where they dominate in Jordan – representing 80 to 85% of the poultry sector there. The Saudi chicken market is dominated by a few major players while Algeria has a handful of integrated companies.
The Emirates, said De Feyter, is a growing ruminant market but the largest players in the segment remain Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Iran.