Turkey is now thought to be the 10th largest poultry meat producer in the world, processing 1.9 million tons of broiler meat in 2014, and exporting 450 tons to 57 countries. Growth in the sector is forecast to average 5-6 percent annually over the coming five years.
Messages of Turkey’s growing poultry industry were shared with the more than 1,000 delegates who attended the opening day of the Third International Poultry Meat Congress, organized by the Poultry Meat Producers and Breeders Association (BESD-BIR).
Welcoming delegates to the event, congress chairman Professor Necmettin Ceylan said that production had outstripped forecasts, and that despite a positive outlook, the industry still faced problems that needed to be addressed.
“As a scientist, I’d like to highlight the challenges and problems facing the industry, especially the legislative challenges hampering the sector,” he said. “Turkey’s biosecurity law is not in harmony with the EU, and there is poor information reaching consumers, and this reduces the consumption of poultry meat.”
He continued that the science and technology that would be examined during the event would not only benefit the poultry industry, but it would, in turn, benefit wider society and mankind as a whole.
Rapid poultry industry growth
The strong attendance at the event and the 59 scheduled presentations over the course of three days were a reflection of how the Turkish poultry industry had developed strongly, said Dr. Sait Koca, BESD-BIR president.
He continued that the poultry industry was relatively young in Turkey, but that development accelerated in the 1980s and over the last couple of years growth had picked up dramatically. In 2007, the industry produced 1.1 million tons of poultry meat. This figure reached 1.9 million tons in 2013.
Like many parts of the world, Turkey has not been immune to the economic downturn. The Turkish economy as whole grew by 2.9 percent last year, yet the poultry industry grew by 8.8 percent. It is hoped that, within five years, the country will be producing 3.95 million tons.
And the industry needs to keep growing if it is to keep pace with consumer demand and need. In 1950, for example, the population stood of Turkey stood at 21 million, by 2050, it will have reached 93 million. Yet despite the rapid growth of the poultry industry, there is still a protein deficit in Turkey and the poultry industry aims to fill this gap.
Ibrahim Yigit, president of the Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Affairs, noted that Turkey is second in Europe for broiler meat production and third in terms of egg production. The agricultural sector, he continued, had received strong government support, particularly in the form of new policies and cheap loans
Turkey is Europe’s largest agricultural producer and the seventh largest in the world and its poultry industry is pushing for a greater presence worldwide. The country currently ranks 6th globally for exports of poultry meat – worth US$700 million in 2014 – and has its sights on moving up the rankings to become the world’s third largest exporter of poultry meat.