The Mediterranean’s population will reach 560 million people in 2030. An important growth in low and middle- income countries is expected, what will cause a dietary transition towards a higher consumption of meat, fruits and vegetables and will add pressure on natural resources. In addition, the Mediterranean area will suffer dramatic changes in the near future due to climate change such as desertification, droughts and floods or extreme heat conditions. The new project SUSTAvianFEED, launched in 2021, presents tangible approaches for a more sustainable livestock sector.
The IPCC special report on Climate Change and Land https://www.ipcc.ch/srccl/ stresses that it will be impossible to keep global temperatures at safe levels unless there is a transformation in the way the world produces food and manages land. It estimates that 25-30% of global greenhouse gas emissions are a consequence of the food system, which greatly contributes to pollution of air, soil and water, and to biodiversity loss.
At the same time, climate change will severely affect agricultural production (reducing yields and land available for agriculture), with dramatic consequences for the livelihood and rural communities, among others. Moreover, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), clearly establish the need of this transition in order to ensure a healthy diet for everyone and mitigate and adapt to climate change https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/
Furthermore, the livestock sector represents about 14.5% of all human-induced emissions. It consumes about 6 billion tons of feed material in dry matter annually, including one third of global cereal production http://www.fao.org/gleam/results/en/
In order to modify all these patterns, a possible solution could be to introduce sustainable practices, based on circular economy principles, in the food system.
New food chains must be environmentally friendly, foster local economies and consider social aspects. Feed production will be the mainstream of this change.
Launched in 2021, the new project SUSTAvianFEED, which sees the collaboration of the Sociedad Agraria de Transformacion, the Entomo Consulting S.L. and the University of Murcia in Spain, the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity and the University of Turin in Italy, the Institut Superieur Agronomique de Chott Mariem and the Rayhana Ngo in Tunisia, and the EGE University in Turkey, presents tangible approaches for a more sustainable livestock sector by focusing on innovative and sustainable poultry feedings programs.
The project aims to demonstrate, in particular, innovative poultry farming systems by the inclusion of sustainable animal feeding, using food chains that must be environmentally friendly, foster local economies and consider social aspects.
Through five pilot programs in Italy, Spain, Tunisia and Turkey, a Living Labs (LL) methodology and a multi-actor and interdisciplinary approach, all partners will try to develop a sustainable poultry feeds as an alternative in the livestock farming sector. The alternative feed will be more environmentally friendly than the regular sources and will have a close relationship with local agriculture and agri-food sector, while accomplishing with feed safety regulations.
In order to develop a sustainable feed, two main approaches will be followed, the use insects as source of protein and the formulation and development of a targeted and sustainable diet considering the product of poultry farming (meat and eggs) and production phase.
Consumers, farmers, policy makers, academia and the private sector (especially SMEs) will be engaged for the pilot definition in each pilot area. Workshops and others participatory approaches will be developed at regional and local level.
In this way the co-creation approach will contribute to get the most appropriate solutions to the market in a faster and accurate way and the multi-actor approach will be established with the aim of developing concrete solutions for smallholders for the implementation of a circular economy approach in the poultry sector in which local resilience is promoted and local and affordable feeds are the mainstream of a transition towards sustainable farming systems.
Supported by the European Union, this project (grant Number 2015), is part of the PRIMA program. Partners of the activities are ALIA – Sociedad Agraria de Transformacion (Spain) – UMU – University of Murcia (Spain) – UNITO – University of Turin (Italy) – ISA-CM – Institut Superieur Agronomique de Chott Mariem (Tunisia) – Rayhana Ngo (Tunisia) – Entomo Consulting S.L. (Spain) – EGE University (Turkey) – Fondazione Slow Food per la Biodiversità Onlus (Italy).