December 21, 2021
Alltech: Becoming a more reliable partner in Southeast Asia's agriculture industry (Part 2)
An eFeedLink Exclusive Talk
In the first part of this interview, Matt Einarson, Alltech's Southeast Asia regional director, talks about the company's efforts to help and foster relations with regional partners in Southeast Asia, as well as its activities in Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines.
In this second part, Einarson discusses Alltech's approach towards sustainability and continual success in Southeast Asia through partnerships.
Sustainability for a Planet of Plenty
Even as Alltech strengthens its foothold in Southeast Asia, being a major player in global agriculture means it would inevitably be queried on how it deals with the perennial subject of sustainability.
But, "sustainability isn't something that's new," Matt Einarson, Alltech's Southeast Asia regional director, remarks. In 1985, Alltech committed itself to the ACE principle, which is based on "using research to create technologies that improve the health and performance of animals, at the same time, being beneficial to the consumer and safe for the environment," Einarson explains.
Furthermore, "Because all Alltech animal health products focus on achieving optimum well-being, environmental improvements are often an added benefit," Alltech elaborates the principle on its website.
"It's only about three years ago that we want to mature this concept; we got this opportunity to do what is already a noble task, which is feeding the world naturally, while reducing the impact agriculture has on the environment," Einarson says.
This ambition undergirds the concept of Alltech's Planet of Plenty: "in which there is enough nutritious food for all, the world's resources are responsibly managed for future generations and the environment is safe for people, animals and plants to thrive in harmony," the Planet of Plenty website states.
"What Planet of Plenty is about is working in concert with our partners. Essentially, our strategic plan for Southeast Asia is to put sustainability and Planet of Plenty at the core of our activities," Einarson adds.
"That requires us to develop partnerships with our customers. Going from business transactions to a partnership model that is more comprehensive, a part of this approach is acknowledging what sustainability means for our partnership, what does sustainability mean for the industry and how do we work together to be able to achieve that end-state. If our technologies are deployed correctly, we will have the capability of improving both efficiency and waste reduction.
"Both of these contribute significantly to reducing the environmental footprint in agriculture, which means we can do more with less."
The aforementioned technologies include organic trace mineral nutrition that Alltech is able to utilise and sufficiently meet maintenance and performance requirements of livestock, "with as little as 10% of what would be the traditional industry standards," according to Einarson.
Additionally, another organisation under Alltech's umbrella, Alltech E-CO2 works with companies in setting sustainability goals, "specifically, in terms of carbon emissions".
"We work to benchmark what is the current output.. what are the key interventions that are required in order to achieve that, and then we go through a monitoring accreditation programme alongside those organisations."
Cooperation in pushing sustainability in Thailand is already underway as Alltech supports major companies in the country to boost productivity and helps consumers "in terms of food safety," says Keeratiya Poolsap, marketing manager at Alltech Thailand.
Poolsap reveals that Alltech is working with a global food and beverage conglomerate to meet its goals of becoming carbon neutral by 2050 by improving animal nutrition and supplying feed additives.
"We are going to start a trial project with them (involving the application of) our technology to feed and help their farmers in the area of productivity and (reducing) carbon footprint reduction in their dairy farms," she explains.
Food safety is another aspect of the sustainability concept Alltech is also tackling with. Hence, it works with a leading global protein producer in Thailand to reduce pathogenic contamination in meat, using Alltech's nutritional technologies in the place of antibiotics, Poolsap adds.
Since sustainability itself is a very broad concept, consumers should also be educated on what it truly means to have sustainably produced food. According to Apple Lu, marketing manager at Alltech China, most consumers were really focusing on the logistics or packaging of food, and not so much on how food — from livestock to meat — was produced in a sustainable manner.
"There is much education needed to (inform) consumers that it is not only logistics or packaging but… what kind of raw materials (food producers) are choosing (in food production), and what kind of diets they can formulate (to create) the most sustainable feed," she explains.
"We are getting our customers to communicate with consumers in defining (what is) sustainable food production. We are helping them to transform performance data into environmental data that consumers can understand easily."
Alltech's sustainability efforts are complemented by its corporate social responsibility activities. One such example is the company's donation of computers to local schools in Thailand.
Generally, Alltech desires that its partners share a similar vision and consider sustainability "as their social responsibility," Lu says.
Continual success built on partnerships
Partnership is firmly in the mind of Alltech as it continues to engage the Southeast Asian region. This concept could explain the company's ability to weather through last year's global turmoil with the COVID-19 pandemic.
"When you look at the trajectory of our business in the last five years, we have an over 30% growth over the past years," Einarson says.
"Reasons for our success are: we have a great team; we have a deep portfolio of products; we have great relationships with our partners that extend beyond the transaction of products to the deployment of products to support service and value-added relationship, and we went to great lengths to localise our business."
As such, Alltech is "able to capitalise on opportunities where our competitors have challenges in accessing export markets," despite setbacks caused by the 2018 outbreak of African swine fever that started in China, and later, COVID-19, he adds.
"Alltech (wants) to be a partner, not just transactional-wise" — the company is also strengthening confidence in its partners that they will continue to access supplies from their producers, in face of challenges, Poolsap remarks
"It speaks volumes of how Alltech's approach has, over the last seven years, focus more towards this idea of partnership rather than a transaction," Einarson says.
"We have the ability to sell our ingredients to just about everybody. But we want to place emphasis on developing partnerships which allow us to deploy solutions with value-added activities, that enhance the competitiveness of our customers."
With strong infrastructures for local production in Southeast Asia, Alltech is now "resilient and in a great position to capitalise on growth opportunities once things rebound and return to normal," Einarson concludes.
- Terry Tan, eFeedLink