The 19th IMS World Meat Congress will be held in Paris on 5-6 June 2012 at the Palais des Congrès
In less than 3 months, around 1000 participants from around the world are expected to gather in Paris for the next biennial IMS World Meat Congress.
Organized by the two French meat and livestock associations, INTERBEV and INAPORC, under the official patronage of the French Ministry of Agriculture, the theme of the Congress is “Proudly Producing and Trading Meat”. Interpretation will be provided in 6 languages.
Why is the World Meat Congress THE place to meet?
At a time of economic uncertainty in many countries, the Congress provides an ideal opportunity to highlight the positive contribution that the livestock and meat industries are making to sustainable economic growth and employment, to rural development, to healthy diets, and to meeting the changing and diverse demands of consumers.
It has been clear for some time that the industry needs to increase its engagement with the public, policy makers, the research community and media. By seizing the initiative, drawing on the best and latest scientific research, yet at the same time frankly recognizing that there is a need to adapt and deal with the issues that concern the public, this Congress promises to take a big step in that direction.
Telling our side of the story
The industry has been under attack from environmental and nutritional pressure groups and from sections of the media, often based on questionable research and selective data, which unfortunately often influences policy. A key aim of the Congress will therefore be to set the record straight, to offer balanced and scientifically sound analysis, and to convince policy makers, the media and the general public that the industry is socially responsible and responsive to consumer needs.
One of the principal threads running through the various presentations at the Congress is "taking a balanced approach". This is not something that over-exercises single issue pressure groups. For example, "sustainability" is not just about environmental protection, but means ensuring financial viability, protecting rural communities, acting in socially responsible ways and acknowledging cultural differences. Moreover, there is uncertainty about causes and effects, there is a wide range of business models and management practices that are compatible with sustainability.
The challenges facing the meat industry
There are challenging times ahead. Feeding 9 billion people by 2050, hopefully richer and able to take better-informed decisions, will require a significant contribution from the livestock and meat sector. Producing and selling enough meat of the quality demanded by consumers and public policy will only happen if the sector is financially viable, yet it also needs to respond and adapt to ever-increasing environmental, food safety, dietary, health and animal welfare regulations.
With no real progress in the multilateral trade negotiations under the WTO’s Doha Development Agenda, countries are resorting to regional trade agreements, with significant implications for meat and livestock trade.
The opening session will set the scene by reviewing the key factors influencing market supply and demand in the coming period. In particular, it will highlight the trends that producers and traders will need to be aware of in order to meet evolving consumer demands in a more integrated and globalized market. A robust defence of the role of the meat and livestock sector will provide the bridge to examining in more depth the main issues facing the industry - telling "our part of the story" - concerning sustainable production, animal welfare, human health, and technology, and communicating that story to the wider world.
A session will be devoted to the important, but often neglected, markets for animal by-products, both edible and non-edible, pet foods (a growing market) and niche markets. This session reflects also cultural preferences (such as for halal meat) or developing tastes (such as for sheep meat in Asia).
High-level officials will discuss future policy developments.
The closing half-day session will bring together top policy advisors, particularly to discuss the necessary measures to put in place to feed the world in 2050. A session will also look at developments in tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade, and sanitary regulations with notably the participation of Dr. Bernard Vallat, Director General of the OIE.
Officials from the USA, Brazil, Russia and China will hold a round-table discussion. Mr. Dacian Ciolos, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, will offer closing thoughts.
Don't miss the free post-congress field trip
Some 400 participants have already registered for the 2012 World Meat Congress.