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Report from AVEC in Valencia: Where Even the Paella Features Chicken

26 September 2013

SPAIN - The 56th General Assembly of the Association of Poultry Processors and Poultry Trade in the EU (avec) was held in the splendid city of Valencia last week - an appropriate location as the local version of paella features chicken instead of the more usual seafood. Senior Editor, Jackie Linden, reports.

With nearly 130 participants representing 14 countries and a fine and varied programme of presentations, AVEC's annual General Assembly was hailed as a great success for the organising hosts, ProPollo. 

The theme of the meeting, explained Federico Félix, was 'Continuing the success of poultry learning from research and practice'. Mr Félix is the President of ProPollo, the poultry meat association of Spain and also the current President of AVEC.

First up, delegates heard an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats ahead for European poultry meat producers, presented by Dr Laurence Bonafos of the European Commission DG AGRI. Later in the session and also representing the European Commission, Fabien Santini offered an overview of how the meat markets in general are modelled in the EU. Mr Santini is based at the Institute for Prospective Technological Studies, a joint Research Centre for the European Union in Seville, Spain.

Representing the animal genetics sector, Dr Gerard Albers (President of the European Forum for Farm Animal Breeders, EFFAB), gave a very received presentation explaining how his sector responds to the known and expected demands of the poultry meat market.

Innovations to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of poultry processing were reviewed by the Director for Innovation for Poultry Processing with Marel Stork, Wim Beeftink.

Moving from technical to political challenges to the industry, Jim Sumner, President of the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council (USAPEEC) succeeded in explaining to the audience how both the North American and European poultry sectors can move ahead successfully in the future despite their differing views.

A successful future will certainly be based on sustainability in the industry, and WWF UK's Senior Food Policy Advisor, Duncan Williamson, explained that a more balanced Western diet would not only be more sustainable from the environmental point of view but also both cheaper and more healthy for consumers. To the evident relief of the AVEC audience, he did not advocate veganism or vegetarianism.

Last but but no means least in the formal part of the General Assembly, Juan Luis Durich explained the role of modern food distribution in today's chicken market in Spain. Mr Duric is General Manager and Chairman of Consum, a consumer co-operative based in Valencia.

Jackie Linden

Jackie Linden

Top image via Shutterstock

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