Meat production goes down, trade volume increases
World meat production is expected to decline in 2019 for the first time in more than two decades, as the African Swine Fever outbreak in China decimates pig herds, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.
Production of bovine, ovine, poultry and pig meats is forecast to total 335 million tonnes in carcass weight equivalent, 1% lower than the previous year, according to an outlook recently published.
The drop is driven by an anticipated contraction of at least 20% for pigmeat output in China, which usually accounts for close to half the world's production. Poultry output in China, by contrast, had been rapidly ramped up and is expected to grow by 17% year-on-year, containing the country's total meat output decline to 8%.
Pigmeat typically accounts for more than a third of worldwide meat output, poultry for 39% and bovine meat for 21%.
Global production of poultry - which accounts for a larger share of all meat than pigmeat - as well as that of bovine and ovine meat, is expected to grow this year, with increases anticipated Argentina, Brazil, the European Union and the United States of America. On the other hand, world meat trade in 2019 is expected to reach 36 million tons, 6.5% higher than estimated for 2018 and probably the largest variation in volume observed in the current decade.
Poultry meat (essentially chicken) remains the most traded in the world. But the biggest expansion, as expected, is reserved for pork, whose volume may experience an annual increase of around 12%.
The increase in beef volume is expected to be roughly half that forecast for pork - close to 6%. Anyway, it is a higher index than projected for poultry meat, with an expected increase of approximately 4.5%.
According to FAO projections, the total estimated volume for the current year is 10% higher than in 2017. However, in this expansion, the trade of poultry meat will increase less than that of beef and pork. As a result, the share of poultry meat in world trade is expected to decline from 42.31% of the total (2017) to 40.75% (estimated for 2019).