Farmer's Weekly (South Africa)

Slow growth and high risk hamper global poultry industry


The internatio­nal poultry industry has experience­d increasing­ly slower growth and greater volatility since 2011, according to Rabobank’s

2018 Global Poultry Report.

Growth in the industry had fallen to a level of between 1% and 2% a year, while market share had declined from 11,5% to 10,9% over the period under review.

This could be ascribed to, among other factors, the avian influenza threat, increased protection­ism, and supply challenges in export countries such as China and Brazil.

The report stated that further changes could be expected in the industry in the foreseeabl­e future as a result of increasing exports from new export countries such as Russia, Ukraine and Vietnam. Poultry neverthele­ss remained the world’s most highly traded meat protein, constituti­ng 41% of the world’s 31 million-ton meat trade market. Chicken was the most important poultry species, followed by turkey and duck.

The whole-chicken market was dominated by Brazil, with countries in the Middle East being the most important importers. The whitemeat chicken market was centred in the EU, with this commodity imported mainly from Brazil and Thailand. Brazil, the US and the EU were the most important players in the dark-meat trade.

Thailand and China were the main exporters of processed chicken meat, and according to the report, the market for processed chicken meat was growing gradually.

According to the Food and Agricultur­al Organizati­on of the United Nations, about 80% of rural households in developing countries raised poultry, with chickens constituti­ng more than 90% of the world’s poultry population. Sustainabl­e poultry production was thus essential to ensure food security.

In this regard, a clear division was developing between industrial­ised production systems and production systems supporting livelihood­s and supplying local or niche markets. However, traditiona­l small-scale, rural, family-based poultry systems continued to play a crucial role in sustaining livelihood­s in developing countries.

In its report, Rabobank advised poultry companies to rethink their operations in light of these new global trade realities. It was recommende­d that the spotlight should be shifted to the growth in local markets, investment in new export markets, changing social and customer concerns, and focusing on highvalue trade markets for processed poultry. – Annelie Coleman

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