The EC’s December 2011 ‘Prospects for agricultural markets and income in the EU 2011-2020’ included a review of recent poultry sector developments. It noted how EU poultry-meat production had increased by 2.4% in 2010 compared to 2009, in the face of a recession-induced shift in consumption away from red to white meat. EU broiler prices ‘stabilised at a high level throughout 2011 (+10% above the 2006-2010 average)’, with the integrated nature of EU poultry production enabling producers to pass on higher input costs to consumers.
EU exports strengthened considerably over 2010 and the first half of 2011, despite a reduction in the Russian TRQ which saw a 51% decline in exports to Russia in the first semester of 2011. Particularly high levels of exports were recorded to Asian, African and Middle Eastern markets. Exports in 2011 are projected to be 46.3% above 2009 levels.
In contrast, EU poultry-meat imports showed only a small increase in 2011 (+2.8%), with this being concentrated in frozen fillets and prepared poultry meats where low import tariffs are applied.
Between 2009 and 2020 EU net poultry-meat production is projected to increase 6%, on a more or less steadily rising trend. This is based on a projected 1.8% increase in per capita consumption of poultry meat in the EU. This leaves the EU well placed to serve expanding global demand for poultry meat. While on a declining trend from 2012 onwards, EU poultry exports will remain above 1.3 million tonnes until 2014, and above 1.1 million until 2020. On average, between 2014 and 2020 EU poultry-meat exports are projected to be 22% above 2009 levels.
Imports from Brazil stagnated, while imports from Thailand continued to increase. Imports up to 2020 are projected to be 1.6% below 2009 levels (with imports in some years being as much as 8.5% below 2009 levels).
EU poultry meat: net production, consumption and imports and exports (’000 tonnes cwe)
Source: Extracted from the statistical annex of ‘Prospects for agricultural markets and income in the EU 2011-2020’, December 2011
Developments in the Russian market in the 2010/11 period highlight the extent to which ACP producers in West Africa are vulnerable to a sudden upsurge in exports, as African markets are once again used as ‘markets of last resort’. This compounds the problem linked to the sale of low-quality poultry cuts (for which there is no real market in Europe) on African markets. Here, both expanding EU consumption of breast meat and the overall increase in production of poultry meat is likely to generate further exports of poultry parts to African markets.
This raises important issues linked to the national and regional poultry sector trade policies to be pursued in target markets such as those in West Africa. The EU’s experience of regulated imports, with increases in imports being concentrated in market components where duties are low and access is regulated through TRQs, highlights the scope for the nuanced use of trade policy tools to address specific poultry sector problems.
More generally, however, in ACP countries such as those in West Africa, issues related to feed costs and improving the functioning of poultry sector supply chains would appear to be critical to the long-term future of the poultry industry. This is particularly the case since EU exporters are only one player in the West African poultry market, with the US and Brazilian exporters also having an established presence.