By Manuel Julian Davila Abondano – CEO of DAABON Group
The past 12 months have brought about enormous shifts in our political, social and economic lives, changes that have been felt first- hand by the DAABON family across the globe. Very few people understood the warnings of Bill Gates and others regarding the risk of a global pandemic as being as urgent and imminent as they turned out to be. Consequently, the world was ill prepared for what we have lived through since the beginning of the pandemic and the pace of change and adaptation has been unprecedented.
One of the biggest lessons we have learned as a global community is that sustainability is the only feasible option for ensuring the long-term survival of humanity. COVID-19 appears to have been caused by our exposure to diseases that would normally not have entered the food chain, but which due to deforestation and our continued encroachment on the habitats of animals in far flung corners of the world, have infected our food supply with devastating consequences. There is an ever-increasing awareness that climate change, deforestation, over fishing and depletion of our natural resources are existential problems. This reaffirms the long-held belief at DAABON that we must continue to invest in and advocate for sustainable food production policies, for the benefit not only of our children, but for ourselves.
Our post-pandemic work life reality has accelerated what had started as a trend. Big tech has been supplying us with many tools and services to facilitate remote working. Now remote working has become the new normal. At DAABON, we have engaged with external consultants in order to embrace this new modality. We have also deployed dedicated teams to lead our continuous improvement program, OPTIMUS. We are very glad to see that the organisation has responded well to this initiative and has welcomed all the improvements.
The pandemic has also compounded the effects of a super-cycle in global commodity prices, for the first time in my lifetime the market is inverse, and futures in food commodities are being sold at lower than current prices. The pandemic has caused massive disruption in the food service industry as well as affected migrant labour in many agriculture-strong regions. China’s demand for soybean, corn and other commodities required for animal feed as part of its massive state-wide program to recoup the swine fever affected pork production has resulted in unprecedented demand in oilseeds. This demand is also pushed higher by the fact that countries in central Asia are restocking depleted inventories consumed during the crisis. Furthermore, La Niña caused droughts in parts of Russia affecting the yields of wheat and sunflower, which made their government place export levies to reduce domestic food price inflation. La Niña has also affected parts of Argentina, putting pressure on the production of soybean on a country which is already experiencing massive inflationary problems. The combined effect of these events will be that commodity prices, particularly for oilseeds, will be sustained and keep increasing, leading to food price inflation pressure across the globe which will eventually reach retailers and consumers.
For now, we rest assured that we are on the right path. We are proud to say that our trajectory is taking us in the right direction to an ever more sustainable business. Working towards plant- based food solutions, protecting and nurturing forests around agricultural lands, promoting initiatives for renewable energies and applying the most energy efficient technologies in all our processes.