11.05.2020

The contrasting world of chicken meat production


Hans-Wilhelm Windhorst1 


Analyses dealing with the dynamics and patterns global poultry meat production mostly focus on the leading countries. This is also the case for papers of the author dealing with this commodity. When preparing a detailed analysis dealing with the dynamics of global poultry meat trade Windhorst 2020), I realized that the least developed countries (LLDC)2 were ignored. That was the reason for dealing with this group of countries in more detail. In this analysis, the role of the 10 leading countries in global chicken meat production, here referred to as the Champions League Countries (CLC), will be compared to the LLDC.

Patterns of global poultry meat production

The presentation of some basic facts of global poultry meat production is necessary for the understanding of the following analysis.

In 2018, 127.3 mill. t of poultry meat were produced worldwide. Chicken meat3 contributed 87.4 % to the total production volume (Table 1). Because of the dominance of chicken meat, the paper will focus on this meat type.           

Table 1:
Global poultry meat production in 2018, by meat type
(Source: FAO database)


 

The contribution of the CLC respectively LLDC to the chicken meat production differed considerably at continent level.

Table 2:
The share of the CLC and LLDC in the chicken meat production of the respective continents in 2018
(Source: own calculations based on FAO data)

The data in Table 2 shows that the CLC reached very high shares in Africa and the Americas and contributed about one quarter to the European production volume. In contrast, the LLDC shared 18.8 % in African chicken meat production and 5.6 % in Asia. Their contribution in the Americas and Oceania was negligible. These data impressively document the contrasting world of chicken meat production.

The imbalance between share in global population and in production

In 2018, 4.2 billion people lived in the ten CLC, a share of 55.0 % in the global population. They contributed 58.1 % to the worldwide chicken slaughter and 60.4 % to global chicken meat production. With 1 billion inhabitants, the 46 LLDC, of which ten will be analysed in detail, shared 13.2 % in the global population. They contributed 4.3 % to the global chicken slaughter and only 2.9 % to chicken meat production (Table 3).

Table 3:
The share of the CLC and LLDC in the global population, chicken slaughter and chicken meat production in 2018
(Source: FAO database)

A closer look at the data in Table 3 reveals the imbalance between the share of the CLC and 46 LLDC in the global population and in chicken meat production. The population of the ten CLC was about four times higher than that of the LLDC, but their production volume was 21 times that of the least developed countries. Of the ten CLC, six were located in Asia, they shared 23.4 % of the global chicken meat production; three in the Americas with a contribution of 33.0 % and one in Europe, sharing 4.0 % in the global production volume. In contrast, 31 of the 46 LLDC were located in Africa, they contributed only 0.9 % to the global production volume, the nine Asian countries 2.0 % and the five Oceanian countries and the one American country less than 0.1 %.

Patterns of chicken slaughter and chicken meat production in the CLC

In 2018, the ten CLC slaughtered almost 40 billion chickens, 58.1 % of the global slaughter volume. The six Asian countries contributed 20.2 mill. or 50.4 % to the total slaughter volume, the three American countries 17.2 mill. or 43.1 % and Russia, the only European country in that group, 2.6 mill. or 6.5 %.

The regional concentration in the CLC is surprisingly high. The three leading countries, China, USA and Brazil, together shared 47.0 % in the global slaughter volume and 63.9 % in the volume of the ten CLC.

The ten countries produced 69.1 mill. t of chicken meat in 2018, 60.4 % of the global production volume. The three American countries shared 37.8 mill. t or 54.8 % in the overall volume, the six Asian countries 26.7 mill. t or 38.6 % and Russia 4.5 mill. t respectively 6.6 %.

In the chicken meat production of the CLC, the regional concentration was also very high. The three American countries had a share of 33.1 % in the global production volume and 54.8 % in the volume of the CLC.

A comparison of the composition and ranking of the ten countries in chicken slaughter and chicken meat production reveals some interesting changes. Myanmar and Thailand, ranking as numbers 9 and 10 in the list of chicken slaughter, were replaced by Japan and Turkey in the list of chicken meat production. The USA and Brazil surpassed China, which ranked in first place in slaughter. Russia ranked as number four, surpassing Indonesia, which fell from fourth rank in slaughter to seventh rank in production. Japan and Turkey, both not among the top ten countries in chicken slaughter, climbed to 8th respectively 10th rank in production.

Table 4:
Chicken slaughter and chicken meat production in the ten CLC in 2018
(Source: FAO database)

*sum does not add because of rounding

The forgotten world – chicken meat production in the LLDC

To the 127 mill. t of poultry meat which were produced worldwide in 2018, the 46 LLDC contributed only 3.6 mill. t or 2.8 %. The data in Table 5 shows that the share of the four main poultry meat types differed considerably. Chicken meat had a share of 92.3 % in the overall poultry meat production of the LLDC, an even higher concentration than in the CLC, and duck meat of 6.8 %. The production volume of the other two meat types was negligible. When going down to the continent level, the data reveals the wide differences between the shares of the LLDC in the population, chicken slaughter and chicken meat production (Table 6).

Table 5:
Share of the meat types in the poultry meat production of the LLDC in 2018
(Source: FAO database)

Table 6:
The share of the LLDC in the population, chicken slaughter and chicken meat production in 2018 at continent level
(Own calculations based on FAO data)

In Africa, the LLDC shared 51.0 % in the population but only 18.8 % in chicken meat production. The situation was more balanced in Asia. A detailed analysis at country level will show that some Asian countries produced considerable amounts of chicken meat, but their position did not become obvious because of the dominating role of China. It is worth noting that the LLDC in Asia produced twice as much chicken meat as those in Africa, although the relation of the population was the opposite. In Oceania and the Americas, the contribution to the production volume
of the continents was negligible.

Patterns of chicken slaughter and chicken meat production in the LLDC

In 2018, the 46 LLDC slaughtered 2.9 billion chickens, a share of 4.3 % in the global slaughter. The ten leading countries contributed 80.0 % to the total slaughter volume of the country group (Table 7). Four of the leading countries were located in Asia. They slaughtered 1.9 billion chickens, a share of  64.1 % in the overall slaughter of the LLDC and of 80.0 % in that of the ten leading countries. The six African countries contributed only 35.9 % to the total slaughter volume of the LLDC and 20.0 % to that of the leading countries of this group. The dominating role of the LLDC, which are located in Asia, is obvious. Myanmar ranked in an unchallenged first position, followed by Bangladesh. The two countries alone shared 55.4 % in the chicken meat slaughter of the 46 LLDC. This data alone documents the wide gap between the single countries in this country group and in particular the distance of the countries located in Africa to the leading Asian countries.

The LLDC produced 3.3 mill. t of chicken meat in 2018, a share of 2.9 % in the global production volume. The ten leading countries contributed 83.1 %. The three Asian countries shared 2.1 mill. t or 63.3% in the overall production in this country group and 76.3 % of the ten leading countries. With a production of only 656,000 t, the seven African countries fell far behind. Similar to the slaughter data, the extraordinary role of the LLDC, which are located in Asia, is obvious. Myanmar´s dominance was even higher with a share of 52.0 % in the total production volume of the country group. This again documents the minor role of the 31 LLDC located in Africa. An exception is Malawi. The production volume of this country increased tenfold between 2008 and 2018. The extraordinary growth is a result of the initiative of a single company (Incubators Malawi). The company installed small incubators in various parts of the country. In the incubators, chicks of hybrid lines were hatched. The chicks were then sold to small farmers who produced chicken meat for the rural population (Ralte 2017).

Table 7:
The ten leading LLDC in chicken slaughter and chicken meat production in 2018
(Source: FAO database)

*sum does not add because of rounding

Large differences in slaughter weight

A comparison of the slaughter weights in the CLC and LLDC shows considerable differences (Table 8). The average global slaughter weight in 2018 was 1.71 kg. The highest values of the CLC reached Japan with 2.8 kg and the USA with 2.7 kg, the lowest Indonesia with only 0.9 kg. The preference of cut up parts explains the high slaughter weights, the consumption of whole birds the low slaughter weights. The highest value of the LLDC reached Sudan with 2.1 kg. In this country, the broiler industry developed very fast over the past decade, a result of the engagement of several hybrid companies (The Poultry Site 2019). Malawi reached an average slaughter weight of 2.0 kg; in 2008, it had been only 0.8 kg. The success of Malawi Incubators, as mentioned before, is obvious.

Table 8:
The average slaughter weight of chickens in the ten CLC and the ten leading LLDC in 2018; data in kg
(Source: own calculations based on FAO data)

When evaluating the data, on has to consider that for the LLDC it is in most cases based on estimates by FAO. The FAO database does also not distinguish between slaughtered broilers, double purpose hens or spent hens. That is why the presented data can only serve as an approximation regarding the differences in the production systems of backyard flocks and the growing of hybrid lines in broilers. For the CLC, the data is more reliable because of the availability of national statistical data.

Summary

The preceding analysis could impressively document the wide gap between chicken meat production in the CLC and in the LLDC. While the ten CLC contributed over 60 % to the global production volume, the 46 LLDC shared only 2.9 %. In the CLC, vertically integrated companies dominated production, in most of the LLDC, chicken meat was mainly produced in backyard flocks, often using double purpose hens for egg and meat production. The recent dynamics in Myanmar, Sudan and Malawi show that investments in egg production, using modern hatching technology and hybrid lines, can initiate a dynamical development and contribute to supplying the growing population with valuable animal proteins. One has to consider, however, that for the majority of the LLDC such a dynamical development has not yet show up at the horizon. 

 


 

Footnotes

1 The author is scientific director of the WING at the Hannover Veterinary University and Prof. emeritus of the University of Vechta, Germany
2 A list of the LLDC is available from: http://www.fao.org/faostat/en/#data/QL.
3 About 10 % of the produced chicken meat was meat of spent hens.


Data source and literature

FAO database: www.faostat.org.

Ralte, R.: Made in Malawi Incubators Boost Poultry Industry. In: The Poultry Site, November 1st, 2017. https://thepoultrysite.com/news/2017/11.

The Poultry Site, May 7th 2019: INMAA welcomes customers to 10th Sudan Poultry Expo. https://thepoultrysite.com/news/2019/05.

Windhorst, H.-W.: Europa dominiert im Import und Export. Der Welthandel der wichtigsten Fleischarten im Jahr 2017 im Überblick. In: Fleischwirtschaft 100 (2020), Nr. 1, S. 22-24.

 

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