The global economic recession will have had, and will continue to have, an adverse impact on meat consumption for some time. How poultry will fare remains to be seen but, in broad terms, it looks as though the prospects for both production and trade on an individual country basis are mixed.

However, in the longer term, although the rate of population growth is slowing, the total will continue to expand to exceed nine billion by 2050. This, along with a recovery in real incomes, will lead to increased poultry uptake.

Meat decline predicted

Although feed and energy costs have, for a while, fallen from the 2008 peaks, poultry meat production is not expected to expand significantly this year. Indeed, broiler output in the USA, the world’s leading producer, is forecast to decline in 2009 by almost 650,000 tons (4%) to below 16mt (see table of USDA broiler estimates).

There is a considerable time lag before the output data for all the countries in the world can be collected, which is why the latest FAO figures presented here relate to 2007. While queries can be raised over individual figures there can be no doubts about the overall trends.

Total poultry meat output has climbed over the decade from less than 60 million tons towards 90 million tons in 2007. The latest FAO estimate for last year is 93.7 million tons while its forecast for this year currently stands at 94.7 million tons.

Poultry meat represents 33.2% of all meats (excluding fish).


No growth in broiler output

Chicken meat output (including meat from culled layers) represents around 85% of all poultry meat and so could now be approaching 80 million tons.

The latest USDA estimate for broiler meat output in 2009 shows virtually no growth on last year at a little over 71 million tons. As the economic recovery is expected to be slow and energy and feed costs start to escalate again, next year seems unlikely to see any significant increase in global broiler production. Indeed, looking towards the next decade, most projections point to an average growth rate of around 2% - just half that recorded over the past 10 years. However, some countries will continue to better this figure. Among the leading producing nations, output in both China and Brazil looks certain to exceed 2%. While the anticipated expansion in the Russian Federation will be much slower than the average 16% growth achieved over the past two years, poultry meat output this year is still expected to rise by 9% to 2.4 million tons.

Ranking reshuffle

Most notable change among the leading countries in the chicken meat ranking table is that Iran has jumped from 11th to seventh position while production in both Indonesia and the UK now exceeds that in Japan.
The outlook in the turkey sector is less good. World output has shown little movement since 2004 averaging around 5.1 million tons a year. The European Union and the USA account for the bulk of production. Output in the EU has declined since peaking at nearly two million tons in 2005, while a sharp cutback is currently predicted for the USA to 2.6 million tons. Hence, global production in 2009 is expected to fall by some 3% from the 2008 level of 5.3 million tons (see the USDA table of turkey meat output). The brightest spot has been Brazil where production has expanded by more than 50% since 2005 to the current level of around 550,000 tons.

Globally, duck production continues to make steady progress with output last year likely to have exceeded four million tons for the first time, which compares with just 2.5 million tons ten years earlier.

Slaughterings and production of goosemeat have shown a similar rate of expansion with annual output now approaching 2.6 million tons.