The rapid growth of the world wide poultry industry slowed in 2007. The industry will continue to grow, but not at the pace it did from 2002 to 2007, according to Dr. Paul Aho. Aho, a U.S.-based economist who specializes in the poultry industry, made that prediction in a presentation titled, “The International Market: 2002–2012–2022,” during International Poultry Day in Hannover, Germany, November 12. 

“We make a common mistake of thinking of growth as a straight line that goes up forever,” said Aho. “The rate of industry growth slowed in 2007. I think it’s a long-term trend fueled by less meat consumption and slower growth in per-capital income worldwide.” 

While he said he foresees a drop in growth of meat consumption, poultry will fare much better than beef or pork in the next 10 years. “The growth in beef and pork will only equal population growth,” said Aho. "Only poultry will see a growth rate higher than the rate of population growth.”

As for the industry’s short-term problem of high feed prices, Aho said he thinks feed costs are at their peak and will go down over the next two years, but they are not going to go back to 2007 levels. High feed prices are going to be the new normal.

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Aho forecasts China, India and parts of Latin America as leading the growth in the poultry industry in the next 10 years. He also sees poultry production growing in Africa in the next decade. 

“We will hear a lot about Africa,” said Aho. "Africa’s production could increase from 4 to 6 million metric tons annually in the next 10 years to where it could be 8 percent of the world’s production.” 

International Poultry Day was organized by the European Poultry Club in partnership with DLG, German Agricultural Society, and ZDG, German Poultry Association, preceding the opening of Eurotier 2012.