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Latin America Poultry at a Glance

A blog providing analysis of the poultry and feed industries in Latin America.
Avian Influenza / Broilers & Layers / Egg Production

Can the poultry industry grow with avian influenza?

June 17, 2014

The answer may be yes. Initially, the impact of the avian influenza outbreaks in egg production in Mexico was devastating. According to official figures, 22 million birds were eliminated. It is worth mentioning that this amount represents the total laying hen population of many countries. Then came the outbreak in broiler breeders, with the consequent blow to the broiler market.

The case of avian influenza in Mexico goes beyond the effect on the poultry industry. It has almost become a matter of national security and of highly politically charged decisions. Why? Because, among other factors, there is great concern on the government’s part to not affect consumption of two stars of the Mexican dining table: chicken and eggs.

Although outbreaks have been controlled, I think Mexico is far from eradication, at least in the short term. But the Mexican poultry industry is booming. This year, with both chicken and eggs, a 3 percent increase in growth rate is expected. Investments in infrastructure and innovation continue. What does this mean? That poultry producers have great confidence in their industry and in the country, which therefore will result in the consolidation of the Mexican poultry industry in the near future.

The big driver is domestic consumption. According to figures provided by the Unión Nacional de Avicultores (National Poultry Producers Association), it is estimated that  the apparent consumption of chicken (domestic production plus imports) this year the will be near 30 kg per capita, while in 2006, it was around 27 kg. Eggs is another example. Even though eggs’ apparent consumption suffered a decrease in 2012, this year it is projected to reach 22.5 kg per capita (about 375 eggs, approximately), similar to the peak level reached in 2011.

Exports are dismissed for the time being. But, once the Mexican poultry industry, as well as the domestic consumption, strengthens and consolidates, coupled with the confidence of the poultry producer, Mexico will be ready to export, provided that finally the much-needed changes in the way we produce are implemented.

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