COVID-19 impacts short-term world poultry production

Slower poultry production growth partially due to the pandemic will result in nearly 137 million metric tons of poultry meat output in 2020.

mikeledray | Bigstock
mikeledray | Bigstock

World poultry meat production is forecast to reach 137 million metric tons in 2020, 2.4% more than almost 134 million metric tons in 2019 or half the pace of growth recorded in 2018, according to projections from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) . This again accounts for the majority of meat both produced and traded. The overall slowdown in growth in meat production is attributed by FAO to animal diseases, COVID-19-related market disruptions and lingering droughts.

Around the world, the main meat market statistics – production, consumption, imports and exports – rose only negligibly.

Over the past 15 years, world poultry meat production rose nearly 48.9 million metric tons from 2005 to its 2020 projection level.

Drilling down to regions and countries

Developing countries will see their output slowly expand, with production in 2020 projected at nearly 26 million metric tons, surpassing the 23 million metric tons estimated to come from the U.S, according to FAO data. This growth will be supported by firm demand and higher pig meat prices, says FAO. New investments in processing facilities will support higher production in the EU and UK, as well, depending on COVID-19-related price drops.  

Although developing countries will increase their production over the 10-year outlook period, based on the change from 2029 and the average of the 2017-19 base period, many will also account for changes in per capita consumption. Peru, Colombia, Vietnam, Ukraine and Malaysia will account for the largest increases. Ethiopia will see no change, and Brazil, Paraguay, Saudi Arabia and Nigeria will all see slight drops in consumption over the outlook period.Given the UK’s exit from the EU, the EU as a whole remains the largest producer and exporter of the two.

*Will fill in reference to Mexican production for the Fast Facts here depending on treatment of that looks*


Overall, meat prices are projected by FAO to remain high in nominal terms over the outlook period to 2029. Real meat prices are projected to continue downwards due to slowing meat production growth and small increase in feed grain prices, according to FAO. Poultry will see a slight uptick by 2029.

US market update

Broiler production will remain relatively flat in the short term, rising to 43,539 million pounds, rtc. Turkey, on the other hand will have fallen slightly since 2019 to 5,770 million pounds by 2021, according the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s estimates.


Download more poultry market data:

Distribution of 2020 poultry meat production and trade between EU-27 and UK

Feed cost index and poultry-to-feed price ratio 1999-2029

Mexico chicken consumption in 2019 by type

Percent change in US broiler and turkey production 2019-21

Poultry meat production and consumption estimates in select countries 2020

Top countries' per capita poultry meat consumption change

World balance for meats by type 2018-20

World poultry meat market statistics 2019-20

World poultry meat production trend 2005-20

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