In recent weeks, two events have marked a milestone in the Mexican poultry industry. First, there was the first-ever fresh egg export to the US in late July. Taking into account that only few countries can export fresh eggs to the US, this historic moment was finally achieved after 20 years since the inception of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Then just a few days ago, the Japanese government announced the authorization of pasteurized liquid egg exports from approved plants in the central state of Jalisco, Mexico.
There are provisional reasons behind these exciting events. One of them being the effect of the avian influenza outbreak in the US that has greatly crippled egg production, as Mexico experienced not long ago. But I also think there are reasons related to the tremendous effort by the national poultry industry to improve and show the world that Mexico is a huge producer and consumer of the best animal protein: eggs.
Now is the time for Mexico’s egg production to really take off and here’s why:
1. National egg consumption, currently exceeding 365 eggs per person per year, may be reaching a plateau and leaving no room for growth. However, there is a very high domestic demand for industrialized eggs for the manufacturing of mayonnaise, dressing and baked goods, among others.
2. It seems that the national laying flock of the US is facing an 18-month recovery time to reach pre-outbreak levels, making it the ideal time to secure new markets and strengthen them.
3. Adding value to eggs, as in the case of the pasteurized liquid egg exports authorized by Japan, boosts the uses and safety of the product, thus eliminating concerns of transmission of avian diseases.
4. Brazil exports very few fresh eggs despite being the largest chicken exporter. Although this country has great experience and a good reputation with exports, its domestic consumption is on the order of 180 eggs per capita, less than half of the per capita consumption in Mexico. This means that the domestic market has a lot to offer in terms of growth and perhaps exporting will not be as attractive to them.
5. The gradual devaluation of the Mexican peso this year makes domestic products attractive in foreign markets. But beware: many raw materials are imported.
Several Mexican companies have egg processing plants with state-of-the-art technology capable of competing with the best in the world. Given the current situation, I think Mexico should expand its horizons and become a poultry exporting power right alongside Brazil.