The XXI World's Poultry Congress (WPC) of the 'World's Poultry Science Association' (WPSA), scheduled to take place on 20-25 August 2000 in Montrçal, Canada, will mark the beginning of a new era in the activities of the International Network for Family Poultry Development (INFPD). It will be the first international debut of the network in its new forum: dealing with different poultry species kept by families in rural and peri-urban areas of Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Pacific region. After including the First International Symposium on Rural Poultry Development Policy in the XIX WPC in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and the Rural Poultry Development Symposium in the XX WPC in New Delhi, India, INFPD will mount another international symposium to be held as a satellite meeting of the XXI WPC.
This is a follow-up of the decision of the Executive Committee of WPSA in its meeting in Jerusalem, Israel in 1998 to recognize INFPD as a working group of WPSA. INFPD will undoubtedly benefit from this opportunity by bringing the issue of family poultry in the developing countries to the international audience. The important role of the different poultry species in the provision of food and alleviating hunger and malnutrition in third world countries has still not been recognized and long forgotten. Therefore, the selection of the Symposium theme for the Montreal meeting: 'Family Poultry and Food Security' could not have been more timely.
Another task awaiting INFPD is documentation. In all developing countries, there is a scarcity of data on rural and peri-urban family poultry that are available in easily accessible systems. This lack of accessibility will hinder all development plans. There is an urgent need to collect and classify the scattered information published in workshop and seminar proceedings or in expert consultation meetings.
In December 1998, INFPD succeeded in launching the First Electronic Conference on Family Poultry with technical and financial assistance from the Animal Production and Health Division of the FAO. The contributors to the Electronic Conference attested to the soundness of the idea. Nevertheless, the information amassed in the last two decades on diseases, feeding, breeding, socio-economic aspects, systems of production, etc. on the different species of poultry in various countries requires the immediate attention of INFPD. Moreover, INFPD may want to consider the possibility of promoting the Newsletter to become the 'International Family Poultry Journal'. Since the specific problems facing family poultry in different regions may not appeal to the highly specialized, scholarly journals like 'Poultry Science' and 'British Poultry Science', articles dealing with these problems may not find its way for publication.
In the next millennium, INFPD has also to face the issue of collaborative research in the various fields of poultry science. Strategies must be set up for research and development at regional or continental levels that involve the collaboration and co-operation of national and international research institutes. Collaborative research plans can then be envisaged between the national or regional programmes and INFPD. Such an approach can bring scientists from all over the world to address effectively the constraints facing family poultry development. All these ambitious dreams need logistic support.
The establishment of permanent structures for INFPD, as suggested by Professor Renç D. S. Branckaert (Guest Editorial, INFPD Newsletter Vol. 8 No. 4, 1998), could represent the kick-off for these dreams to come true. We would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the massive support from FAO to the network. The help rendered by CTA and IDRC during the initial foundation stage is deeply appreciated by all of us. Many individuals worked very hard to bring the network to success. The future progress and success of the Network will largely depend on the continued support from organizations involved in rural development and food security. Therefore, the search for sponsors should never stop!