The International Poultry Council (IPC) is expecting a record attendance at its first semester conference in Rome. At the conference, two high-ranking officials with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) will discuss one of the most active seasons in several years for highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI).

Dr. Juan Lubroth, the FAO’s chief veterinary officer, will give IPC members his perspective on the challenges of the current avian influenza situation, and OIE Deputy Director General Dr. Brian Evans will talk about avian influenza-control strategies and the impact the virus is having on poultry trade.

Increased global HPAI detections over the past several months are spawning import restrictions that are wreaking havoc on global trade of poultry meat and breeding stock. Particularly alarming is the impact on the international shipment of breeding stock, which is causing supply shortages in some countries and preventing producers from replenishing their poultry flocks.

Members will also review the progress of the concept of compartmentalization, developed by the OIE to limit the impact on trade of influenza restrictions. Marilia Rangel Campos, foreign markets coordinator at ABPA, the Brazilian animal protein association, will give a presentation on Brazil’s experiences with compartmentalization.

From the economics side of the avian influenza issue, Dr. Nan-Dirk Mulder, associate director for commodities at Rabobank, will talk on the impact of influenza-related bans on global poultry meat trade.

Following an open discussion on the situation, members of the IPC will adopt policy positions on avian influenza.

Other speakers include Bart Blomme, global category director for meat at the Metro Group AG, the world’s fifth largest international supermarket chain, whose presentation will cover global poultry retail, with an emphasis on sustainability; and Carlo Prevedini, CEO of the Amadori Group, a leading Italian poultry producer and processor, who will give a report on the Italian industry.

Also, Mark Smith of Leadership Resource Institute, will lead a discussion of the IPC’s strategic plan and the organization’s “road map” for the future.

Hosted by Unaitalia, the Italian meat, poultry and egg association, the meeting will be April 15-17 at the Ambasciatori Palace hotel in Rome. Registration fee is US$600.

Participants can register via the IPC website.

Associate members that are sponsoring the Rome conference are Gold Level, Aviagen, Cobb-Vantress, Elanco Animal Health, Hendrix Genetics and Jansen Poultry Equipment; Silver Level, Marel Poultry Processing Equipment.