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Focus on food quality set to drive growth

China Daily | Updated: 2019-10-24 10:26

Mark Lyons, president and CEO of Alltech. [Provided to China Daily]

How does your company plan to take advantage of the technology transformation opportunities in China over the next decade?

Technologies do not move incrementally but exponentially. We are on the brink of significant breakthroughs in technologies in general. Additionally, this is a unique period where the costs to deploy those technologies will be minimal compared to the benefit they bring.

Within the agri-food sector, one of the more significant challenges we've observed is the gap between programmers of new technologies and agricultural producers. Because they are not well-connected, the emerging technologies are sometimes not aligned to the needs of farmers, ranchers or producers. We feel we can play a role in bridging that gap through The Pearse Lyons Accelerator, which is now entering its fourth year. China will play an even more significant role in the growth of our innovation programs moving forward, as we know the market tends to be an early adopter.

New technologies and human innovation are at the heart of our Planet of Plenty vision. We need to create a global community that enables ideas and innovation to flourish. Together, we can provide nutritious food for all, while reducing our reliance on natural resources and preserving our planet for the future. If you want to play a role in shaping the future, now is the time to work within the agri-food sector, as there is no industry with greater potential to have a positive impact on our planet.

How has your company adjusted to the uncertainties brought by trade frictions between China and the United States?

Alltech just celebrated its 25th year in China, and we have always pursued an "In China, For China" strategy. Since we first entered the market, we have developed supply chains, worked with local suppliers and developed our own high-quality processes and materials in China for the Chinese agriculture sector. The trade uncertainties have not changed our strategy. We are wellplaced with a manufacturing facility in China and have the ability to export from China to countries not impacted by current trade tensions.

We carry out the most comprehensive survey of global feed production. Since the beginning of our annual Global Feed Survey, China has consistently topped the list as the world's largest producer of animal feed. Therefore, it's critical to our business that we have a strong presence in China, working closely with the country's agri-food sector. What we do in China will impact the entire global food system, so we are committed to staying and developing our business within China.

China has adopted policies to further open the economy to foreign investment, transform financial services and promote private enterprises. How are you planning to take advantage of these policies?

We are encouraged by these policies. Having built our business within China over the past 25 years, and having sold into China before that, we have confidence in the economy and the ability of the government and industry to work together.

We continue to look for partners to develop next generation agriculture technology, and the current economic direction set by the government is conducive to that goal. For example, China-based Alesca Life was selected to be part of The Pearse Lyons Accelerator, an elite accelerator funded by Alltech for late-stage agriculture startups. It is now a regional company with offices in Asia and the Middle East. We are eager to identify additional innovators throughout China so that together we can work toward a Planet of Plenty by developing next generation solutions for agriculture, the least digitized sector. We showcased stories like Alesca Life as part of our 25th anniversary celebration last month in Beijing, and we are looking forward to ongoing, inclusive dialogue on developing strategies to address the opportunities presented by these new policies.

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