Those were the qualifications awarded to the first ENAJ ‘low-budget’ tour, organised by the Belgian and Dutch guilds. The tour, which focused on the innovative pig production in the border region of Belgium and The Netherlands, was made up of colleagues from mainly Northwest Europe. The comprehensive program offered an intensive insight into pig production in the Benelux region.
Twenty-five journalists were taken to three pig farms, a feed company, a pilot plant and, to wrap it all up, the grand opening of the VIV Europe exhibition and the exhibition grounds. Even though the program was well filled, each visit left the participants plenty of time to question the farmers and entrepreneurs involved in the business.
The different farmers were chosen for their focus on certain aspects of the pig farming business. The first visit highlighted pig genetics. Which boars does a farmer select and for what reason? And how does the genetics company make sure it meets society demands with regard to animal welfare and meat quality? Contact with the general public is very important for pig farmers in order to maintain their license to produce, not only for the production of pig meat in general, but also within their own community. Each farmer showed his/her efforts to be open on how the business is run and which efforts are taken to make sure societal demands are met, near and far. This openness makes it possible to even expand the pig business regardless of the pressure felt by animal welfare groups.
“You don’t have to convince each other of your own opinion, just show respect both ways. Keep the dialog open,” says pig farmer Elly Michiels.
The Innovative Pig Production Tour was made possible with the help of the entrepreneurs who opened up the doors (and sometimes windows) of their business and of course with the contributions of our sponsors: Topigs, VLAM, Agrifirm/Bonda, Feed Design Lab, DSM, Nevedi, Bemefa and VIV Europe. We thank them especially for their input, which not only kept the costs of participation low, but also contributed to a smooth organisation.
Jef Verhaeren, Chairman of ENAJ, writes:
“I participated in this first low budget press trip of ENAJ, organised with the Dutch and Belgian guilds. It was a success. Participants were very satisfied and everybody present found it a very good professional activity of ENAJ.
So I’m happy we decided in Athens on the occasion of our general assembly beginning May 2014 to continue these low budget press trips organised by national guilds. I’m looking forward to the ENAJ low budget press trip in Autumn in Spain and to ENAJ low budget press trips next year in Italy, Austria and Denmark.”