In 2015, Spain produced 23.3 million metric tons compound feed, up 3.7 percent from 2014 and nearly 12 percent over the past decade. While Germany remains the largest compound feed producer,Spain topped France as the second largest compound feed producer in Europe.
However, Jorge de Saja, general director of CESFAC, Spain's confederation of compound feed manufacturers, expects the ranking trend to alternate in the years to come between the top three feed producing countries.
According to de Saja, the Spanish feed industry has thrived due to its reliance and successes within Spanish livestock production over the past few decades.
Low agri-food commodity prices have hit European producers hard over the past decade. But, as de Saja notes, compared with its European competitors, such as France and Germany, Spain has always relied on imported raw feed materials, giving Spanish feed manufacturers a supply management advantage during such crises.
Another factor contributing to the industry’s success is the business relationship between the Spanish farmer and the feed manufacturer, which de Saja feels is closer than in other countries.
“Poultry and swine integration is not a mere verticalization of the activity,” he says, noting that in Spain, integration is actually “a very close strategic alliance of partners, a very close alliance in particular between major swine producers and chicken producers, in feed manufacturing and animal protein processing and marketing.”
The third factor is the ability of the Spanish export industry to take advantage of niche markets or export opportunities. Spain’s geography gives the country an important advantage allowing it to import and export through eight ports across the peninsula.
“The integration model has had much to do with the success of exports because of the ability to reach any market with a lot of flexibility, without any limitation,” de Saja says.
For example, de Saja said, when the Russian trade sanctions are lifted, Spain will be well positioned to open trade lines again, despite its location.
“2016 also looks good. At first we were a little more pessimistic. Now that half a year has elapsed, we think that it will be just as good, because exports to third [world] countries are going really well and I think we will reach levels very similar to 2015,” he says.