The mixed performance experienced by the Latin American poultry industry in 2020 was repeated last year, but the broiler sector, at least, ended the year higher.
The region’s poultry companies, like most others around the world, were strongly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, rising commodity prices, disruptions to logistics and the Russia-Ukraine war. The more direct impact, however, was the high inflation rates and low wages reducing purchasing power in the region.
Data only recently made available suggests that Latin America’s broiler production measured by head slaughtered increased by 2.42% in 2021, compared to 2020. Lower production, however, was recorded in the egg industry, with the region’s flock contracting by 1.78%.
All countries have updated their data, with the exception of a few in Central America.
All countries, to a greater or lesser extent, were affected by the aforementioned issues.
Nevertheless, a number of the region’s larger broiler producers saw output increase. These included: Brazil (2.83%), Colombia (7.25%), Mexico (4.0%) and Peru (6.35%). Countries with smaller industries, such as Costa Rica (8.2%), El Salvador (16.36%), Nicaragua (1.7%), Panama (9.47%) and Uruguay (8.47%), also ended the year higher. Others, including Ecuador and Paraguay, recorded simply marginal increases.
However, while some countries saw output expand, others witnessed contractions.
Of particular importance, due the size of its industry, was Argentina, where output contracted by 2.19%.
Among the region’s smaller producers, Bolivia recorded a decrease of 5.34%, Chile was down by 3.91%, the Dominican Republic fell by 14.98%, while Venezuela reported output to be 3.29% lower.
Layer flock decreased marginally
Egg production in the region was impacted by the same factors that hit broiler producers, but the effects were more dramatic.
By the end of 2021, the region's layer flock had decreased by 9.23 million birds compared to 2020.
The egg was the hero of the pandemic, but subsequently some countries have reported severe reductions to their layer flocks. These included: Bolivia (-11.85%), Venezuela (-11.54%), Colombia (-9.91%), Brazil (-7.77%) and Chile (-7.11%) compared to 2020. As for the rest of the Latin American nations, layer numbers were stable or only slightly lower.
Only one important egg producing country − Mexico − saw significant growth in its layer flock last year, with a 2.92% increase, representing almost 5 million birds, a significant increase in comparison to the 1.4% increase recorded in 2020. Two minor producers also had impressive increases in their flock sizes: Costa Rica with 11.76% and Panama with 4.47%.
The last five years
Broiler production in Latin American grew reasonably steady over the five years to 2021. Between 2020 and 2021, the number of chickens slaughtered in the region rose by 2.42%, giving a five-year growth rate of 5.04%.
The top five broiler producers in Latin America were: Brazil, recording an increase of 5.71%, while Colombia grew by 9.95%, Argentina was up by 2.69%, Peru grew by 10.49% and Mexico rose by 6.03%.
Looking across the five-year period for the layer industry, the scenario is different. The region’s flock grew by 9.71%, although from 2020 to 2021 there was a decrease of 1.4%. Nevertheless, the Latin American layer flock remains in excess of 500 million birds.
All of the largest egg producing countries grew strongly over the period. Brazil recorded a 9.18% increase, followed by Mexico with an 8.5% increase. Colombia witnessed a 4.65% increase, Argentina rose by 7.47% while Peru was up 12.02%.
Chicken and egg consumption
Despite the variations in output, per capita chicken meat consumption in Latin America increased by 2.82% over last year to stand at 32.08 kg.
Of the 18 countries considered, half consume above the regional average. The country with the highest per capita chicken meat consumption is Peru with 50.96 kg, followed by Argentina with 48 kg.
Peru and Argentina are followed by Brazil and Bolivia, which consume 45.56 kg and 44 kg, respectively.
Latin American countries with the lowest poultry meat consumption are Venezuela, Uruguay and Nicaragua, along with several of the Central American nations. Perhaps illustrative of the difference from country to country is that Peruvians consume over 36.24 kg per person of poultry meat more than Venezuelans.
Egg consumption in 2021 rose by 3.3% compared to 2020 – or an additional seven eggs per person. The region’s average now stands at 219 eggs per capita.
Mexico continues to be the leader with 409 eggs per person annually, an 8.5% increase from last year’s figure of 377 eggs. This represents quite a jump for a country where consumption, which was already high enough to claim the world record, had been flat for at least the last five years.
Colombia comes second with 344 egg per person, an increase of 5.8% year over year. Argentinians now, on average, consume 298 eggs, a -3.87% decrease over 2020.
The lowest per capita egg consumption last year was recorded by Nicaragua with 94 eggs, followed by Venezuela with 108 eggs and Honduras with 135 eggs.
I am grateful for the help received from Latin America’s poultry producers' associations and experts in the region. Compiling these figures would not be possible without their hard work and selfless collaboration.