Global poultry output is set to rise only 2 percent in 2012, to 103.5 million metric tons, slowed by high feed prices, avian influenza outbreaks in Asia and ongoing trade disputes, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization's latest Food Outlook.

Much of the increase will likely originate in Asia, in particular in China, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea and Turkey. However, escalating cases of avian influenza, with seven countries in Asia reporting outbreaks in February, clouds the region’s production outlook, according to the FAO's report. In Bangladesh, an estimated 6,000 poultry farms have closed since the beginning of the year because of avian influenza and high feed costs. In Africa, the spread of bird flu to Egypt in early 2012 is expected to hinder the development of the sector throughout 2012.

Declining output in the U.S. and only slight gains in the EU point to prospects for stable production in developed countries. However, the sector is forecast to grow by 6 percent to 3 million metric tons in the Russian Federation, which has launched ten new investment projects. Despite producer concerns about sliding poultry prices in early 2012, Brazil’s output is forecast to increase by 3 percent to 12 million metric tons, while vertical integration and high prices for other meats are supporting a 2 percent increase in output to 2.9 million metric tons in Mexico.

In Africa, despite investments in some countries such as Namibia, high feed prices and rising imports are hindering production growth in Ghana, Angola, Benin and the Congo. At the same time, imposition of anti-dumping duties on poultry originating in the U.S. and Brazil is keeping South Africa’s output on an upward trend.