European Poultry Producers Facing the Future was the topic of an international panel hosted by the European Poultry Club on November 12, the day before the opening of trade show EuroTier, in Hanover, Germany. 

Gerhard Wagner, European Poultry Club president, opening the event, commented on the number of Russians present, and reminded attendees the first meeting of the European Poultry Council took place in Moscow 10 years ago. 

As part of the event, Vladimir Fisinin, president of Russia’s Poultry Union, looked at the development of the Russian poultry market over the last decade. He said that, in 2002, Russia consumed only 940,000 tons of poultry meat. However, by 2012 this had risen to 3.5 million tons. Per-capita consumption has risen from 6.7 kg to 25 kg over the same period. 

He said that the Russian sector is innovative and keyed into Europe and highlighted that the Russian industry has expanded its breeding programs and has access to large gene pool, including many breeds that are almost extinct. 

The topic of breeding was taken up by Jim McKay, group director science technology at EW Group. Showing graphics for turkey production, he highlighted how the sector has changed. Back in 1960, he said, the goals for selection were growth and liveability. Now, however, a whole host of traits are considered, including skeletal quality, heart and lung function, weight, yield and tendon quality, to name but a few. 

He also pointed to the success of the genetics industry in not only in eradicating disease from its flocks, but also in improving resistance to disease.


A slightly less positive picture was painted by Paul Aho, global poultry consultant, who said that while growth in the poultry industry would continue, we should not expect the high rates of increase of the past. The population is still growing and, overall, so is per-capita consumption, so while volume increase will continue to rise, the percentage increase will be lower. 

There will be bright spots, however. In China, for example, Ahoo said that there are still many opportunities to increase efficiency, while Latin America, he said, is entering a “golden age." Africa is also growing, albeit from a small base. 

In the U.S., however, a different story is at play. Since 2006, per-capita chicken consumption in the U.S. has been dropping, and producers are likely to cut back production to return to profitability in 2013. 

The day’s panel discussion was followed by a dinner and a presentation from Alexander Kostikov, head of communications with Russian meat producer Cherkizovo.

Aho said that, over the five years to 2010, Russian meat consumption is expected to double, yet against this he contrasted the fact that per-capita consumption remains low and is less than what was consumed 20 years ago under the old USSR. Per-capita meat consumption in Russia currently stands at 65 kg while in the U.S., for example, it stands at 106 kg. 

Poultry is the fastest growing of all the meats in Russia and now accounts for 40 percent of consumption.