With standing room only at its opening session inside a packed auditorium in Cancun, Mexico, the 2010 Global Feed & Food Congress was off to a strong start. By the end of the three-day event, its organizers were expressing their delight at how well it had been attended – despite the air travel interruptions due to a cloud of volcanic ash over the Atlantic and Europe.

“We have had a total of over 350 delegates at this meeting, representing 27 countries,” reported Roger Gilbert, secretary general of the International Feed Industry Federation, which arranged the congress with the Mexican feed association and technical assistance from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. “That was out of the 400 people who were anticipated from pre-registrations. It has been a tremendous effort by everyone to be here, given the travel problems affecting the Europeans and those whose intended air journeys transited Europe."

He added that 40 of the 58 scheduled speakers reached the congress, and only six presentations were dropped as a result. “The others were either presented by an associate of the speaker or they were given digitally,” Gilbert said. He explained that, once flight cancellations were confirmed, the missing speakers were invited to provide digital recordings of their presentations. The papers presented remotely were well received by delegates.

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“It has to be the first time that the feed industry has used digital technology to overcome a critical conference issue,” Gilbert said, “and it went off without a hitch.”

The next IFIF Global Feed & Food Congress will take place in South Africa in April 2013.