Chicken is an essential part of a typical Latin American diet. This popular protein accounts for an astounding 50% of the per capita meat consumption in Latin America. With that level of demand, it is no surprise that poultry production in the region has doubled in the last two decades and is projected to continue to grow 4% annually, far outpacing the global percentage of 2.5%. As demand grows for chicken meat and eggs, significant pressure continues to mount for producers to modernize quickly.
To aid in equipping local producers, the Soy Excellence Center of the Americas (SEC Americas), with support from the soy checkoff, recently conducted trainings at Zamorano University in Honduras that focused on improving quality and efficiency in poultry production and feed manufacturing in the region. Overall, over 60 agribusiness professionals representing nine countries across Latin America attended the trainings.
“The courses take place over several days. They are both comprehensive and intensive, balancing information from industry and academic experts,” says Dr. Carlos Campabadal Teran, the SEC Americas Center Lead Director. “The coursework is designed to be relevant and enable trainees to put the information into practice immediately upon returning to their work.”
The curriculum provides technical training on a broad array of topics central to production and manufacturing. Technical knowledge covered in the courses is often hard for local farmers in emerging markets to access, including subjects such as the varying aspects of broiler and egg production that impact the end product. Participants also learn the importance of feed ingredient quality and its direct correlation to litter quality, among other topics.
Course participants found the lectures provided important details about egg production, breed, the role of amino acids in nutrition, reproductive anatomy and production cycles to their knowledge-base. Damaris Lorena Zambrano, coordinator of broiler production at Distraves SAS in Colombia, said, “It was a great reminder that there are critical factors to keep in mind during poultry production. Water, food, temperature, management and, of course, bird quality, each has considerations and requires special care.”
In addition to the educational knowledge provided in the classrom, the Soy Excellence Center program also focuses on network and relationship building within the industry. Zambrano noted this can be very powerful.
“There are problems that can be considered, lessons that can be learned from other sectors,” says Zambrano. “Communication with colleagues allows sharing of knowledge and experience, making it easier to find alternative options when common problems arise.”
For participants in these courses, the learning does not end here. Graduates will be invited to continue their networking and education online through the Soy Excellence Center’s digital community, which connects them with others in the industry across the globe. Just on the horizon, students will also be invited to participate in more advanced poultry production and feed manufacturing courses scheduled for September at Zamorano University.
This article was partially funded by U.S. Soy farmers, their checkoff and the soy value chain.