Banking on Brazil

By Alan von Tunzelman, President, World Renderers Organization

Brazil is a giant country both in terms of area (by far the largest South American nation) and population (more than 200 million people). A favorable climate and fertile soil allow the growth of almost every crop – grain, fruit, and vegetable – as well as chickens, pigs, and cattle. Together with Russia, China, and India, Brazil has been identified as potentially playing a major role in feeding the world over the next 30 years.

The huge volumes of chickens, pigs, and cattle that Brazil produces provide the base for a very large rendering industry with over 300 plants currently operational. The potential to increase livestock numbers presents the local rendering industry with great opportunities for expansion over the next few years. It is likely we will see both the construction of new plants and substantial upgrades to existing plants, utilizing recent processing and energy saving technology.

Given all this, it was good news when, at the National Renderers Association (NRA) convention in Naples, FL, last October, Brazil was welcomed as one of the latest members of the World Renderers Organization (WRO).

Earlier this year I was invited to attend the 10th Congress of the Brazilian rendering industry in Sao Paulo at the end of March 2011. The goal was for me to speak about the WRO, to explain a bit about the organization’s history and its role in representing the industry, how WRO membership will help rendering in Brazil, and how industry participants there can best work with the WRO.

The event was a joint enterprise between the rendering and pet food industries of Brazil. Each industry held its own conference, and at the same time suppliers of equipment, consumables, and services to both industries held a massive trade show where they displayed their wares.

The format was like a typical European, Australian, or U.S. rendering conference with speakers representing many industry interests. Alexandre Ferreira and his team from Sincobesp (one of the two main Brazilian rendering organizations, the other being ABRA, or Associacao Brasileira de Reciclagem Animal) put a lot of effort into organizing a well-balanced program. Everything ran perfectly, from the opening welcome by Dr. Gustavo Razzo Neto, president of Sincobesp, to the event’s conclusion with a lively and vibrant Samba dance troupe demonstration.

Dr. Roberto Rodrigues was the first presenter and spoke about international agribusiness in general and more specifically about local Brazilian activities and how valuable they are to the economy. This was followed by a panel discussion by the respective presidents of the two Brazilian rendering organizations, Sincobesp and ABRA.

Next, I spoke about the WRO, beginning with the organization’s formation and leading through the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) years to the present time. I talked about WRO’s role with respect to regulations, promotional activities, advocacy, education, and communications, then dissected and explained a typical year in the life of the organization. I predicted a very positive future, with WRO helping the Brazilian rendering industry play an increasingly important role in feeding a hungry world.

The day’s last session was a panel discussion titled “The history of the development of the by-products industry in the world, facts and curiosities.” Moderated by Alexandre Ferreira, the panel consisted of Manfred Gellner from Saria representing European interests, Frank Dupps of the Dupps Company speaking for North America, Jaime Sasson of Mapar S/A and Vincent Materia of Materia representing Argentina, and myself, speaking for New Zealand and Australia. With a panel providing such broad representation, we were able to identify fundamental similarities between all regions where processes were concerned, as well as focusing in on specific, and intriguing, differences between the countries. This is particularly the case with respect to regulatory authorities. As one might expect, approaches vary dramatically between island nations with little history of exotic diseases, leading first-world economies that have been through serious scares in the past, and landlocked emerging nations with porous borders and accelerated growth aspirations.

The next day began with a presentation from Professor Aulus Cavalieri Carciofi on animal nutrition, specifically the use of meat and bone meal in pet food. He stated that for pet food use, as well as the usual aspects of nutrition, digestibility, palatability, process extrusion, and cost, the differing needs relative to poultry and pigs had to be understood.

Enzymes are not so important in pet food, while calcium must be reduced and ions and mineral balance is important. Kidney problems can result from inappropriate mixes or too much meat and bone meal in any mix. A pH of seven seems very desirable and he believes that the current two percent pepsin test is flawed. (I am indebted to Claudio Bellaver who translated this presentation for me.)

An environmental paper followed, presented by engineer Maria Cristina Poli. Her presentation could equally have been delivered in Europe, the United States, or in Australia. Odor, dust, noise, and drainage issues seem to be international issues now, with only minor variations between countries.

Rendering technology was the subject of two presentations. Steve Dunn from Rendertech, New Zealand, detailed the development of rendering in New Zealand, specifically the low temperature system introduced by the Meat Research Institute while he was there, and what has evolved from this technology since that time. Then Dupps, a member of the fifth generation of his family to be involved in their company, painted a colorful history of this family business that grew from butchery interests with horse drawn delivery vehicles to be an engineering entity manufacturing and selling rendering equipment since 1935. Today, the Dupps Company is among the largest suppliers of rendering equipment and systems in the world.

Biodiesel took center stage next, beginning with Hannes Stabla detailing the involvement of BDI – BioEnergy International AG in biodiesel technology and how it has advanced over the years. BDI is a large organization with dozens of operational plants utilizing a variety of feedstocks with many more under construction. Next, Saumutra Mahajan of Indian company Intech Overseas Projects gave a contrasting presentation explaining the revolutionary technology that this newcomer to the industry has developed and the potential for it to become a big player on the world stage.

The final presentation was given by Fats and Proteins Research Foundation (FPRF) President Sergio Nates who spoke about the foundation’s activities and plans for the future. He explained current and potential future research projects, various funding aspects, and encouraged widespread membership and utilization of FPRF.

To close the conference, a wrap-up session finished matters tidily and it was encouraging to see that Sincobesp and ABRA have made a commitment to work more closely together for the benefit of the Brazilian rendering industry.

Before leaving Brazil, I enjoyed a guided tour of a rendering plant that is the equal of any I have seen anywhere in the world. The Razzo plant in Sao Paulo is a credit to its owners, management, and staff and stands as an example to all businesses, not just renderers, of how to operate a clean and tidy facility. My thanks go to Dr. Gustavo Razzo Neto and his two sons for the opportunity to see this plant that was built in green fields in 1937 and is now surrounded within this bustling city. The plant is operated so professionally that complaints from neighbors seem most unlikely.

I thoroughly enjoyed my first South American visit. I was surprised and impressed by the overall level of development and sophistication, and owe thanks to Alexandre Ferreira for the organizational skills that made this trip so memorable and to Lucas Cypriano who found me when I was lost and guided me back to the convention.

Changing of the Guards
This is my final contribution to Render magazine as president of the WRO. My time in this role has passed very quickly and I must thank everyone involved for making it a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Special thanks to Tom Cook and the NRA team who are the engine room of this organization, and to Render for providing such assistance in communicating to renderers worldwide.

The WRO is in good shape. It has survived the BSE situation, is positively promoting the industry during this “sustainability” phase, and is formulating appropriate strategies to meet the challenges of the future with a hungry world needing rendered products.

Dave Kaluzny II takes over as WRO president in late July, ably assisted by Stephen Woodgate as first vice president. I commend you to their capable hands and look forward to joining the team of ex-presidents that still have such passion for the industry. Both Niels Nielson and Andy Bennett continue to be very active in the rendering business and make positive contributions. I will remain willing and available to assist in any way possible.

We’ve been through some tricky times and I’m sure we’ll see some more. But retain your passion and enthusiasm because rendering is a wonderful industry.

International Report – June 2011 RENDER | back