Why we need to be proactive on soya

NPA Policy Services Officer, Lizzie Wilson, discusses sustainable soya in the British pig industry.

There’s a lot going on at the moment – it’s not easy out there, I know. But the world around us continues apace, as do the growing pressures on food production.

As an association tasked with fighting on behalf of producer’s best interests, we’ve been focused on the sustainable sourcing of soya, ie deforestation/land conversion free.

Now this is a difficult and complex area, not just because of the lack of data and transparency throughout the supply chain with regard to country of origin but also because of the variety of buying options available, the ambitions of those at the top of the supply chain dictating to those nearer the bottom, the timescales involved, and of course, the cost.

Which all has to be balanced against the potential value to the individual and the collective industry reputation. But, similarly to when we identified the need for action in reducing our antibiotic usage, we also need to be proactive on soya – to take control of our own destiny.

Otherwise government will legislate, or NGO’s will continue to push and we’ll simply be dictated to. It’s also a question of protecting the reputation of the British pig industry and adding to our already positive narrative on environmental impact.

But it’s not going to happen overnight, and there are many challenges and issues that will need support from others whether that’s the supply chain, including retailers, or government, in the form of equivalence of standards for imported product for example.

We need all these stakeholders to be aware of just what it is going to take, collaboratively, to achieve the ideal of the British pig industry being able to source 100% sustainably produced soya.

That’s why, with Efeca, the organisation responsible for administering the Roundtable on Sustainable Soya, we have formulated a pork sector plan, to demonstrate just how we’re going to do it and to highlight the responsibilities of others in helping to facilitate it.

But NPA can’t just sanction this for the industry, we will be consulting you all shortly, and your support and engagement will be absolutely essential.

This article was taken from the April Issue of Pig World magazine, which you can subscribe to here

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