International trade

Brazil’s poultry exports will grow and grow

Projections of steadily rising poultry exports from the world’s largest producers signal continuing pressure on South Africa and other African markets from Brazil, the United States and the European Union over the next decade.

Led by Brazil, global poultry exports are expected to rise by nearly 20%, supported by strong consumer demand in developing country markets. This is the forecast of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) in its agricultural projections to 2031 released last month.

It expects poultry exports by major exporting countries to expand by 18.6% over that period, ahead of pork (13.2% increase) and beef (16.1%). The USDA says Brazil is the largest exporter of poultry meat, followed by the US, the European Union (EU) and Thailand.

“Brazil is projected to account for 32.5% of global export growth, with exports rising 19.6% to 5.2 million tonnes by 2031,” it says. Its forecasts are stated in metric tonnes.

“US exports are expected to increase nearly 13.9% to 4.3 million tonnes over the projection period, while EU exports rise 15.9% to almost 2.9 million tonnes.”

Poultry meat imports in Africa and the Middle East regions are projected to grow by 22.3% and 16.8% respectively from 2023 to 2031.

“By 2031, these regions combined increase their poultry meat imports by 1 million tonnes. Projected gains are the result of income-driven diet diversification, low prices for poultry relative to other meats, and production limitations in a number of these importing countries.”

China is going to become a much larger importer of poultry meat, as consumption outpaces growth in domestic production. China’s poultry imports are projected to increase 30.9% to more than 1.2 million tons by 2031. 

Encouragingly for South Africa’s poultry export ambitions, the USDA notes that higher valued, fully cooked poultry products tend to be imported by higher income countries in Asia and Europe.