Monday, March 26, 2018

the interview | Mr Jean Fontaine BSc (Agr), President, Jefo Group

Mr Jean Fontaine Agr, serves as the President of Jefo Nutrition, Inc.
He oversees all company activities in order to increase the performance of research, manufacturing of innovative products and the service to Jefo Nutrition offers invaluable and trusting customers. He graduated from Laval University in Animal Nutrition (Zootechny) in 1981 and trained in Foreign Trade and Export Techniques in 1982.

How did Jefo develop and with what vision?
Jefo was founded in 1982, when I was a young bachelor in animal science, and I saw an opportunity to benefit local producers. Starting out as a distributor for commodity products, the company grew and soon offered its own nutrition product line, backed by its own expertise and vision. The vision was to reduce antibiotic use and improve animal performances, with more natural and healthy solutions.
In due course, laborious beginnings paved the way for exponential growth. Today, Jefo is part of the big leagues in the feed additives industry.
We continue to build on the foundations that have led to its success: strong relationships, risk-taking, hard work, and knowledge. Originating with one man, the Jefo spirit is now carried forward by all our employees, distributors and customers. Jefo is not only a quality brand, it is also an extended community.
After more than 35 years in agribusiness, Jefo proposes various solutions such as essential oils, acidifiers, enzymes, amino acids, vitamins, minerals and bypass fats, which are divided in three programmes: Jefo Care – Prevention & Health, Jefo Peak – Performance & Production, and Jefo Cycle – Reproduction. Some product lines use the Jefo Matrix Technology, which takes into account the digestive transit time of each species to enable a targeted release of nutrients in the intestines.

What are the most significant changes that have occurred since the beginning?
The most significant change has been to witness the organic growth of Jefo, from a small provincial company, to a Global company now servicing the world.
The company now has a global presence in close to 60 countries and our reach is now global. We have partners and employees on all continents, allowing us to witness global and regional challenges, and addressing them with specific solutions to improve animal health and performances
This is a very exciting challenge. The pace has more than doubled in the last five years, with the increased pressure on antibiotic reduction and the raising prices of ingredients. Our solutions are getting increasingly popular! We experienced a radical change from an educational context (20 years ago) to delivering practical solutions to our customers that are now requesting them!

Why do you feel the agri-business is important?
The agri-business is one of the most important segment if our lives! We have the responsibility to feed the world with performance, health and sustainability in mind (both socially and environmentally).
Animal welfare is also becoming an increasing issue, with consumer’s level of education rising and the rise of social media. Jefo is addressing this, as a part of our global positioning: Life, made easier.

Why are innovative feed additive solutions important in aquaculture today?
Being the youngest among industrialised animal production systems, aquaculture has been going through a revolution in recent years -- from land based small stake holders to large integrated farming operations. These operations also include open ocean aquaculture or Recirculating Aquaculture Systems (RAS). Issues such as the release of nutritional wastes to the environment, poor management and inadequate nutrition causing eutrophication, frequent disease outbreaks, subsequently resulting in significant economic sufferings in the industry.
Innovative solutions such as enzymes, organic acids and other phytogenic compounds, for example, can help improve the utilisation of nutrients to reduce organic wastes, manage gut microbes, optimise gut health, and improve immune response in aquatic animals. The enzymes are specifically more important for RAS systems, where reducing nutrient load is a key component to improving efficiency.
Jefo, with its innovative solutions, including, for example, enzymes, microencapsulated organic acids and essential oils, is at the forefront of this revolution. Providing solutions that help not only the industry but also the environment, and thus saving Mother Nature for generations to come has been our goal since the beginning.

How important is aquaculture to meet the protein needs for a growing global population?
World population is expected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050. Growing population as well as the rising incomes in developing countries, are driving up the global food demand, specifically the demand for animal protein. The United Nations projected that, by 2050, food and feed production will need to increase by as much as 70 percent.
As the fastest growing animal production industry and being the most efficient in converting nutrients to protein, aquaculture will be the key driving force to meet this global protein need to feed the growing population.

Where do you see aquaculture as a major source of food production in 20-30 years from now?
Today, we are confined by very limited land and freshwater resources. There is fierce competition for arable land among all the farming systems, not to mention the competition for industrial and urban development. Moreover, terrestrial farming, industrialisation and urbanisation are consistently blamed for water pollution.
70 percent of our earth is covered with water, 97 percent of which are seas and oceans. To protect this beautiful planet, we have to move our food production systems from land to ocean. In doing so, we can produce as much aquatic plants and animals as we produce today but using only one percent of the oceanic surface.
Most of the technologies needed for ocean based faming systems are available today. We just need to use our vision and will to take the necessary steps to make it happen.

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