Livestreamed Sessions Provide GMP 101 To Colombian Feed Producers

The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) partnered with the Colombian feed association (ANDI) and the Instituto Colombiano Agropecuario (ICA – Colombian control authority) to livestream sessions detailing the ins and outs of good manufacturing practices (GMP) for feed manufacturing. The program follows new governmental regulations requiring the implementation of these practices by feed, poultry and livestock producers in the third largest market for U.S. corn.

“The Council’s work in Colombia – supported by funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Trade Promotion (USDA’s ATP) program – encourages growth in the country’s poultry and feed industries,” said Ana Ballesteros, USGC marketing director for the Western Hemisphere. “Incorporating GMP promotes efficiency and innovation, leading to expanded business and a corresponding growth in feed grains demand.”

Colombia currently ranks as the third largest buyer of U.S. corn in the 2019/2020 marketing year at 4.49 million metric tons (177 million bushels) imported, with one month of marketing year data yet to be released.

The Council and ANDI identified the need in 2019 for increased compliance with international standards for GMP to achieve higher production efficiency and speed up the adoption of innovative technologies and practices. Four in-person trainings in October 2019 discussed these standards with targeted feed industry companies.

In February 2020, ICA – as the Colombian government’s control authority – issued a new regulation for feed production and commercialization, requiring companies producing feed for commercial use or for their own integrated options to implement GMP practices by February 2022.

The Council and ANDI planned a follow-up program to help the Colombian feed industry comply with the new rules. After the outbreak of COVID-19, the organizations moved to virtual programming and conducted three virtual sessions from mid-August to mid-September on different sections of the GMP regulation.

More than 1,000 stakeholders attended the sessions through Zoom and another 1,000 viewers participated through ICA’s live-streaming of sessions via their Facebook and YouTube channels.

“The partnership between the Council, ANDI and ICA proved successful for this educational outreach effort,” Ballesteros said. “ANDI helped define the content of each section. ICA’s involvement allowed the Council to reach a broader audience than the original in-person program. And the program itself helped ICA fulfill the need to provide training opportunities for companies that needed to comply with the new GMP regulations.”

Each session included a self-diagnosis tool designed by the Council’s consultants. The tool helped the participating company representatives determine their current status of fulfilling the new requirements and then helped define an implementation schedule of remaining compliance practices.

The Council and its consultants are following up with 11 ANDI members in October to help analyze the results of this self-diagnosis. These one-on-one sessions will help the Colombian feed industry continue to be more efficient and innovative.

“This program was helpful and relevant for the development and modernization of the Colombian feed industry,” Ballesteros said. “There are still questions from the feed industry on the regulation, so these sessions provided an opportunity for ICA officials to understand what areas of education and training are still needed.”