Director of the Institute of Spatial Analysis and Planning in Areas of Intensive Agriculture (ISPA), University of Vechta, Germany
*If not indicated, figures are for EU (27); data are calculated as if the new member countries had already been members in years before entering the EU.
In 2007, the EU was the third largest poultry meat production region after the USA and China with a share of 12.8 % of the global production volume. The EU ranked also third in poultry meat exports after Brazil and the USA. France was the leading poultry meat producing country of the EU, the Netherlands ranked in a top position in exports.
The main objectives of this analysis are:
- to analyse the development of poultry meat production between 2002 and 2007;
- to analyse the patterns of poultry meat exports and imports for the main exporting and importing EU member countries in 2002 and 2007.
Development and patterns of EU poultry meat production
In contrast to the continuous increase of poultry meat production on the global scale, production in the EU fluctuated considerably as can be seen from Table 1. Besides impacts of Avian Influenza outbreaks, this is mainly due to the enlargement of the EU and resulting socio-economic adaption processes in the new member countries. As poultry meat production in several threshold and less developed countries grew very fast, the contribution of the EU to the global production volume decreased from 15.4 % to 12.8 % between 2002 and 2007.
The per capita consumption of poultry meat and the self-sufficiency rate also fluctuated in the analysed time period (Table 2). The ups and downs are as well a consequence of the EU enlargement and the resulting adaption processes as of a decreasing consumption in several EU (15) member countries, such as Belgium, Spain, Italy, and Sweden.
Between 2002 and 2007, the regional concentration of poultry meat production in the EU increased from 75.2 % to 76.7 %. The composition of the seven leading poultry meat producing countries did not change in the analysed time period. This is not true, however, for the ranking. In 2002 as well as in 2007 France, the UK and Spain ranked in the first three positions.
In all three countries, the production volume decreased. In France by 284,000 t, in the UK by 71,000 t, and in Spain 48,000 t. As a result, their contribution of the EU production volume fell from 43.3 % to 41 %.
In Italy, poultry meat production also decreased by 113,000 t, mainly a result of several low pathogenic Avian Influenza outbreaks. The consequence was the loss of rank four. The Netherlands could defend rank seven in spite of considerable losses in production volume. In contrast, poultry meat production increased in Poland (+ 296,000 t) and Germany (+ 242,000 t). Both countries reached a higher ranking in 2007 than in 2002. In total, the production volume in the EU decreased by 300,000 t in the analysed time period (Table 3).
In a further step, the development of broiler and turkey meat will be analysed. This may help to explain the dynamics in poultry meat production in more detail. From the data in Table 4 one can see that the production volume of broiler meat hovered around 7.5 and 7.7 mill. t between 2002 and 2006. In 2007, it increased by 9.2 % or 700,000 t.
Between 2002 and 2007, broiler meat production in the EU increased by 681,000 t. Table 5 shows that with the exception of Germany and Poland all other leading countries show a decrease of their production volume. The reduction of the regional concentration from 75.6 % to 73.7 % indicates that broiler meat production increased especially in other countries than the top ranked.
A comparison of broiler meat consumption in selected EU countries and non-EU countries (Table 6) shows that in several broiler meat producing countries per capita consumption is much higher than in the EU. It can be expected that in future the gap may become smaller. The main steering factor will be the favourable feed conversion rate of broilers compared to pork and beef production.
In contrast to broiler meat, turkey meat production in the EU decreased from 2.2 mill. t in 2002 to less than 1.9 mill. t in 2007 or by 15.5 % (Table 7). This development is a result of the lasting oversupply in the EU and also the global market for turkey meat. It is closely related to the BSE crisis. When the consumers refrained from eating beef, many of them switched to turkey meat. The industry expanded rapidly to meet the growing demand. When after several years consumers turned back to beef, prices collapsed because of the obvious oversupply and it took several years to stabilise the situation. Then, Avian Influenza outbreaks in turkey flocks in Italy and the United Kingdom again led to lower consumption figures (see Windhorst 2005a, 2005b). The dramatic increase of feed costs since 2007 caused a new problem and the turkey industry may have serious problems to adapt to this new situation.
A comparison of the seven leading turkey meat producing countries in 2002 and 2007 (Table 8) shows that the production volume decreased by 315,000 t. The regional concentration remained on the same level with more than 91 %. From this figure one can easily see that not much turkey meat is being produced outside these countries.
A comparison of the production figures shows dramatic decreases of the production volume in France (- 216,000 t), the UK (- 87,000 t) and Italy (-60,000). Germany lost only 20,000 t, in Poland, production grew by 75,000 t. This development led to remarkable changes in the contribution of the top ranked countries to the EU production volume but had only minor impacts on the ranking. The Netherlands lost their position to Portugal and Poland and the UK changed ranks.
In contrast to broiler meat, per capita consumption in EU countries does not differ very much from that in non-EU countries. It is obvious that also in the USA and Canada per capita turkey meat consumption seems to have reached a plateau (see Windhorst 2008).
The main results of the first part of this analysis can be summarised as follows:
- Poultry meat production in the EU decreased by 2.5 % between 2002 and 2007. As the global production grew by almost 17 % in the same time period, the contribution of the EU to the global production volume fell from 15.4 % to 12.8 %.
- Several member countries had to face dramatic decreases of their production volume (France, Italy, UK, Netherlands), on the other hand, production increased in Poland and Germany.
- Opposite developments can be observed in broiler and turkey meat production. Whereas broiler meat production increased by 9 % in the analysed time period, the production volume of turkey meat decreased by 16 %. An oversupply in the market, following the BSE crisis, impacts of Avian Influenza outbreaks, and a decrease in per capita consumption were the main steering factors behind this development.
Changing patterns in EU poultry meat trade
The second part of this analysis will deal with the patterns of poultry meat exports and imports. If a country can export poultry meat or has to import depends on the self-sufficiency rate (Table 9). The rate has to be seen in connection with the population. Countries with a large population and a comparatively low self-sufficiency rate, such as Germany, have to import much more poultry meat than those with a small population, such as Latvia. The same is true for exports. Countries with a small population but a high self-sufficiency rate, such as the Netherlands, are able to export more poultry meat than countries with a large population but a considerably lower rate, such as France.
The seven leading poultry meat exporting countries contributed 82.5 % to the export volume of all EU member countries in 2007. It is not surprising that the Netherlands are ranked as number one, followed by France. These two countries had a share of more than 40 % of the overall export volume. It is worth mentioning that Germany is a major exporting country in spite of the low self-sufficiency rate. Cut up chicken and turkey parts are the main export products.
Poultry meat imports into EU member countries are less concentrated than exports (Table 11). Germany and the United Kingdom are ranked on the first two positions with a share of almost one third of the total import volume, followed by the Netherlands and France. It has to be considered, however, that in addition to the import volume as documented in Table 11, EU member countries imported 214,000 t of salted and 343,000 t of processed poultry meat according to ZMP (2008) data.
A comparison of the export volume of the EU with that of other leading poultry meat exporting countries (Table 12) shows that the volume is higher than that of the USA and almost identical with that of Brazil. The export figures for the EU include intra-EU trade, but this is also the case for intra-NAFTA trade of the USA. In 2003, Brazil surpassed the USA as the leading poultry meat exporting country. Thailand has not yet fully recovered from the impacts of the Avian Influenza outbreaks.
In a further step, the trade flows of the leading poultry meat exporting and importing countries of the EU will be analysed in more detail.
In 2007, the Netherlands exported 773,000 t of poultry meat, 720.000 t of broiler meat and met of slaughtered layers as well as 33.000 t of turkey meat. From the data in Table 13 one can see that 88 % of the exports are destined for another EU member country with Germany and the UK in a leading position. Almost half of the export volume goes to these two countries. Of the non-EU countries, Russia is the most important market for Dutch exporters.
The pattern of French poultry meat exports differ considerably from that of the Netherlands as can be seen from Table 14. Over 56 % of the export volume have a non-EU country as their destination with Saudi Arabia and Russia in leading positions. Both countries import higher volumes than the four top ranked importing EU member countries. Of the 470,000 t of exported poultry meat, 294,000 t were chicken meat and 124,000 t turkey meat. Most of the exported chicken meat went to the Near East, with Saudi Arabia as the main importing country. Russia was leading in turkey meat imports, followed by Spain and Belgium.
In 2007, Germany imported 382,000 t of poultry meat, of which 193,000 t were chicken meat and 81,000 t turkey meat. In addition to whole birds and cut up parts, Germany imported 62,000 t of salted chicken meat (59,000 t from Brazil) and 180,000 t of processed poultry meat (79,000 t from Brazil and 17,000 t from Thailand). The total import volume of poultry meat was 624,000 t.
Table 15 shows that over 91 % of the imported poultry meat, here salted and processed meat are not included, come from EU member countries with the Netherlands in a leading position. With salted and processed meat being included, Brazil would be the most important poultry meat supplier with a share of 26 % of the overall import volume. In recent years, Poland could gain market shares in Germany. This is closely connected with the activities of vertically integrated companies that are owned by German investors.
French poultry meat imports increased from 164,000 t in 2002 to 247,000 t in 2007 or by 50 %. This is mainly due to the dramatic decrease of domestic turkey meat production in this time period (c. f. Table 8). Almost 95 % of the imports come from other EU member countries, 51.1 % from Belgium and the Netherlands. Brazil is the leading non-EU country of French imports. If the import volume will remain on this high level will depend on the further development of broiler and turkey slaughtering. In 2007, the volume of slaughtered broilers reached 921,000 t, about 100,000 t more than in 2006, but the volume of slaughtered turkeys decreased from 503,000 t to 455,000 t.
The main results of the second part of this analysis can be summarised as follows:
- In 2007, EU member countries exported about 3 mill. t of poultry meat, this includes intra-EU trade. The Netherlands and France were the leading exporting countries.
- In the same year, 2.9 mill. t of poultry meat were imported into the EU, here, salted and processed poultry meat are included. Germany, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands were the top ranked importing countries.
- The export patterns of the Netherlands and France differ considerably. Whereas the Netherlands are focused on other EU members, France exports the majority to non-EU countries.
- Germany is the leading importing country, if salted and processed meat are included, Brazil is the most important supplier, followed by the Netherlands.
- French poultry meat imports increased by 50 % between 2002 and 2007, a result of the dramatic reduction of domestic turkey meat production.
The future development of poultry meat production and trade will depend on the development of feed costs, the decision of the EU Commission regarding the imports of chlorine-disinfected poultry meat into the EU, and the prevention of Avian Influenza outbreaks.
Of particular interest will be the results of the ongoing negotiations within the EU and with US representatives regarding the imports of poultry meat. If the market should be opened for such imports, European producers would have to face a challenge which might in the long run change the pattern of EU poultry meat production and trade considerably as the production costs in the USA are much lower than in the EU, where the broiler and turkey companies have to stick to the stricter regulations, not to speak of Brazil. The South American giant in production and trade might also profit from the new regulation and gain further market shares in the EU.
Windhorst, H.-W. (2005a): Regional patterns of change in production and meat trade. In: World Poultry, Special Turkeys 7, August, p. 4-7.
Windhorst, H.-W. (2005b): Changing regional patterns of turkey production and turkey meat trade. In: World´s Poultry Science Journal 62, no. 1, p. 97-113.
Windhorst, H.-W. (2008): Recent and future dynamics of U. S. poultry meat production and trade. In: Zootecnica International 30, no. 6, p. 10-19.
Zentrale Markt- und Preisberichtstelle (ZMP, 2008): ZMP-Marktbilanz: Eier und Geflügel 2008. Bonn.