Under the Chinese horoscope, for the last few months we have been in the Year of the Water Snake - we will have to wait until 2017 until the next Year of the Rooster! In the Year of the Water Snake, a quick search of predictions reveals it is a good idea to save money and to use your talents wisely.

Good advice for any business but perhaps of particular note for many Chinese poultry producers. In this issue, we look at Chinese production patterns and consumption habits. Of late, producers have had to deal with high feed costs and rising labor costs and have been unable to pass these increases on to the consumer thus damaging profitability. We also see how lack of know-how is hampering modernization of the industry.

China’s meat of preference is pork, and with supplies plentiful, prices are low. This is where the wise consumer is spending his or her money. Poultry meat is increasing in popularity with the younger generation, so over time, there may be may be some break in the way that poultry prices follow those of pork. The next Year of the Pig, by the way, falls in 2019.

Steps to success

As a producer, what might be the wisest course of action to properly employ your talents and to ensure there is wisdom behind your actions?

Well, we might be able to help you crystallize your thinking with finding the right growth path for your poultry business in 2013. Do you have a plan to grow your business this year? If so, are you actually implementing it? We offer some pointers to help you along your chosen path.

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Predicting the future is always a risky business, but it is made all the easier when one has a clear and full picture of the present. We are all guilty of working on assumptions, and that can be dangerous. In parts too often overlooked and underreported, Africa is witnessing some remarkable growth rates and significant changes across sectors, and this issue takes a look at egg and poultry meat output in a number of the continent’s countries.

We also have our regular look at nutrition, and in line with the Year of the Snake, we offer ideas on how to use what you have more wisely and more safely.

In processing, we look at simple steps to improve shelf life. Following these steps should help to ensure that predictions of shelf life are more accurate and, all the things being equal, come true. Attention at various stages between the delivery of the birds and the final storage of the processed carcasses can reduce microbiological contamination, hence delaying spoilage.

And what about next year -- the Year of the Horse? According to one prediction, if you have planted a lot of good seeds in the Year of the Snake, be ready for them to come to fruition in the Year of the Horse as you gallop to success.