German ENFASYS case study

Country: Germany

Topic: Sustainable transformation of conventional pig farming and pig value chain

Description: In response to intense and rapidly changing requirements from policy and society in terms of environmental and animal-welfare criteria, farmers in Brandenburg elaborated a proposal to society and political leaders as well as all other food system actors, explaining how they can produce more sustainably and what they need from politics, value chain actors and society in order to achieve this. A regional pig supply chain is one of the propositions made. Pig farmers in Brandenburg are especially in crisis with many having given up their production during the last years due to the combined impact of African Swine flu, energy and input prices, costly investments in terms of environmental and animal welfare requirements, low prices in retail.

Main actors involved: Pig farmers from all production systems in Brandenburg region, upstream and downstream actors in the regional pig supply chain, Brandenburg farmer association, civil society actors, decision-makers at political level

Objective: Redirection of regional (federal province level) pig farming systems via – at pre-farming input and farm levels – increasing regional feed production (including increased use of regionally-grown alternative feedstuff like Leguminosae in form of lupins, peas and soy, as well as grassland-derived feed); building animal husbandry systems based on improved/exemplary animal welfare criteria (animal welfare stables); (ideally) restructuring specialized production systems towards both more specialized closed systems and (more optimally) more combined/integrated and diverse production systems (also possible via farm cooperation instead of /in addition to having closed system single farms); developing – by including primary processing-, secondary processing-, retail-, gastronomy- and logistics levels – a regional pig product value chain (with a quality label); creating willingness to pay for necessary measures at policy-, and consumer levels; fostering more closed material cycles beyond the production system level (biomass for energy and raw materials). This means that in the end, regional pig farming systems are part of a closed regional food system circuit.

Sustainable practices: Invest in stable adaptations for animal welfare: areas for resting, feeding, defecating, rooting; providence of stimuli; etc. Invest in stable adaptations for emission reduction and high-end manure production, reduce animals per surface (max. 2 livestock units/ha), abandon tail-docking, abandon castration (with plans to engage in boar fattening), participate in animal welfare training programs, engage in farmer network to exchange experiences and best practices ,specifically, form alliances with existing best practice farms in the region, cooperate with crop farms for fodder-manure exchange, seek financial help to implement animal welfare stables , reduce externally bought fodder, especially imported, soy-based, establish a plan to guarantee regional fodder supply throughout the year, establish a plan how available land surface may be used to produce fodder (by relying on farming techniques that are qualified as sustainable, dedicate a minimum surface to trial for fodder crops.

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