The biennial National Poultry Congress in Colombia – organized by the country’s poultry association, FENAVI – is one of the largest and most important gatherings of the local industry. This October, the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) helped FENAVI shift the 2020 event to a virtual format to allow an ongoing forum for members of the poultry industry to get the latest information on supply and demand as well as nutrition and management.
“The National Poultry Congress fosters trusted and lasting relationships with poultry industry leaders in Colombia,” said Ana Ballesteros, USGC marketing director for Latin America. “The event provided a space where producers could learn about production, technology, trends and issues affecting their sector and the larger world as the pandemic continues to permeate all human activity.
“By helping them in their efforts to continue providing relevant information for their producers, the Council is encouraging modernization and continuous growth for some of our largest corn customers.
Colombian purchases of U.S. corn and co-products have maintained a steady upward trend since the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement went into effect in 2012. Colombia was the fourth largest market for U.S. corn in 2019/2020, with sales up slightly year-over-year to 4.91 million metric tons (193 million bushels). Representing nearly 11 percent of all U.S. corn exports, Colombian corn purchases were the second highest volume on record, demonstrating how programs like the National Poultry Congress are helping build increased demand for U.S. corn.
“The Council has developed a trusted relationship with FENAVI over the years, supporting projects aiming to maintain a healthy poultry industry in Colombia that is continuously growing,” Ballesteros said. “In turn, the Council has been able to count on FENAVI as an ally to help tackle trade issues while creating more demand for U.S. coarse grains and co-products.”
The importance of the U.S.-Colombian trading relationship was a highlight for the National Poultry Congress as the United States was the designated country featured. U.S. Ambassador to Colombia Philip S. Goldberg welcomed the first daily general session. The Council also sponsored a speaker on consumer behavior in a COVID-19-dominated world.
“Hosting a virtual congress was a new experience for FENAVI, and they appreciated the Council’s support,” Ballesteros said. “Overall, the Council and its members’ involvement sent a clear message of the importance of the Colombian poultry sector for U.S. farmers and agribusinesses.”
The Council also participated in the virtual exhibition site, where three agribusiness members promoted corn co-products including corn gluten meal, distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) and high-protein DDGS. The Council’s booth – a microsite readily available through the live sessions’ site – allowed exhibition visitors to learn more about ADM, Flint Hills, and POET, whose representatives had the opportunity to present their company and poultry diet-oriented co-products through videos and catalogs.
Approximately 990 users logged into the web platform during the week for both the general sessions and the virtual exhibition hall, with an average of 310 users per day. The platform remains open for all users to continue interacting with exhibitors, speakers and sponsoring organizations. The agribusinesses participating will continue to be featured until mid-November, which is helpful in continuous co-products promotion activities for the poultry sector.
With the Congress passed, the Council will continue to work together with the Colombian poultry industry as it adapts and evolves and consumer demands shift in response to the pandemic.
“The partnership with the Colombian poultry industry is more relevant now than ever as these end-users face challenges created by the global pandemic,” Ballesteros said. “The Council will continue to support these industry partners in overcoming the challenges of COVID-19 and strengthening the industry.”
About The U.S. Grains Council
The U.S. Grains Council develops export markets for U.S. barley, corn, sorghum and related products including distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) and ethanol. With full-time presence in 28 locations, the Council operates programs in more than 50 countries and the European Union. The Council believes exports are vital to global economic development and to U.S. agriculture’s profitability. Detailed information about the Council and its programs is online at www.grains.org.