Ready, set, go! Colombian poultry producers have worked hard in the past few years and they want to be ready to start exporting chicken in 2021. Opening export markets is a long process, not only in terms of tariffs but also of animal health issues.

Fenavi - the National Poultry Producers Federation of Colombia - says that "poultry entrepreneurs passed from being worried into action, and international markets, such as the U.S. and Japan, could be the Colombian broiler export destination of 2021."

Colombia has formally requested the U.S. government authorities the animal health green light to export. As per Fenavi, U.S. authorities have shown a positive response and hopefully in the next few months, Colombians will be fulfilling, one by one, the requirements.

Already, there are some companies that have their respective export certification plants. But together with this, Colombians are working hard in solving animal health issues in the country. The country is free of avian influenza and works hard to control and eradicate Newcastle disease. As a matter of fact, Colombia has started a solid Newcastle disease vaccination with the hopes of declaring the country as disease-free in two years.

For the Colombian poultry producers, 2021 is a turning point, because Japan is also on the sights. And they foresee to focus on specialty chicken products, otherwise, they won't be able to compete. Their expectations are to have sales totaling US$560 million/year in the first phase and duplicate that amount when commercial processes get consolidated.

But it is also a turning point, because after at least a decade of constant growth in chicken production, last year the industry was heavily affected by the pandemic and the closing of the food service sector, with a decrease of 4.7% in broiler production. Notwithstanding, they expect 2021 will witness a 1% growth.

The other burden Colombians face is that they are net importers of commodities – the third largest U.S. corn importer and the tenth largest U.S. soybean meal importer. Importing commodities puts pressure on their production costs, so focusing in value-added, specialty chicken products will be a must.

I am sure that, sooner or later, they will make it. In the last few years, they have shown impressive numbers in increasing per capita consumption rates of both, chicken and eggs, particularly the latter.

All this reflects a larger production and very well-orchestrated national consumption campaigns. Even during the pandemic and lockdown!

What do you think?