Antonio Escheverria, president of Costa Rica’s national association of poultry producers (CANAVE), reminded delegates at the 21st Poultry Congress of Central America and the Caribbean that the growth in the consumption of poultry meat in the region over the last 20 years had outstripped that of any other type of meat and that poultry producers were leaders in the use of technology.
He continued that the 21st century would be one of great challenges, and that the industry would have to make greater use of technology and improve efficiency.
Delegates at the opening ceremony were told that some 53 million inhabitants of Latin America still face hunger every day, and that the poultry industry had a major role to play in alleviating this suffering.
However, the industry could not act alone, Mr Escheverria continued, and would need to work in partnership with the government. The call for more government action was not aimed solely at the Costa Rican government, however, and he called on all the governments of the region to improve ports and roads to allow the industry to flourish.
Additionally, he called on the animal health services to be more proactive and tackle those issues that were currently causing trade distortions.
“Governments must provide a rapid solution,” he said. “We cannot compete properly without this help."
This sentiment was echoed by Juan Luis Bosch Gutierrez, president of agro-industrial conglomerate Corporacion Multi Inversiones, who argued that communication between the public and private sectors in the region had traditionally been poor.
Costa Rica's Agriculture Minister Gloria Abraham Peralta paid tribute to the poultry industry’s clear vision for the future and noted that the government was working to implement a 10-year plan to improve the position of agriculture in the country.
She noted that neither the public nor the private sectors could work in isolation, that the government was keen to not only encourage greater research and innovation, but to also ensure that the results of any research were properly implemented.
She added that she was also keen to strengthen communications not only between the two sectors, but also from them to the wider public to prevent the damage that misinformation can bring about.