According to the latest agricultural outlook by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in conjunction with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), poultry will rank the fastest growing and most consumed meat over the next decade and by 2031, will take 47 per cent of the global meat market.
The outlook Indicated that long-term shift towards poultry will continue to strengthen, partly as a result of a preference for white meat among high-income countries. This, it explained further, is because poultry is seen as easy to cook, healthier and considered a better choice.
Similarly, poultry is regarded as a cheaper alternative to other meats in middle and low-income countries. As a result, the outlook projected that protein availability from poultry will rise by 16 per cent by 2031 and by then will contribute about 47 per cent of the protein consumed from meat sources, followed by pork, lamb and beef.
According to market reports, poultry meat consumption has risen in virtually all countries and regions with consumers attracted by lower prices, product consistency and adaptability, as well as higher protein/lower fat content.
Based on this, consumption of poultry meat is expected to increase globally to 154 million tonnes over the projected period, reflecting the significant role it plays in the national diet of several populous developing nations, including Ghana.
In lower income nations, both population and income growth are expected to increase overall consumption, but from a much lower per capita base level. However, poultry demand in high-income countries is expected to fall significantly, due to ageing populations and greater dietary concerns that seek more diversity in protein sources.
Global Meat Supply to Expand
On the supply and demand side, the outlook said global meat supply will expand to meet rising demand, reaching 377 million tonnes by 2031, but this will be slower than in the last decade.
It also noted that global herd and flock expansion means that China, the world’s largest consumer, is projected to account for most of the increase in meat production, followed by the United States, Brazil, and India.
Meanwhile, the increase in global meat production is expected to be influenced by growth in the poultry sector, with poultry numbers rising to 31 billion head.
As a consequence, greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by the meat sector are projected to rise by 9 per cent by 2031.
Global poultry meat production has increased over the past five years. The increase in global meat production over the past five years was mainly driven by more efficient poultry meat production as the poultry industry continued to evolve and industrialize in many parts of the world.
However, energy, feed price surge puts poultry meat production at risk. Operators in the poultry meat supply chain are struggling to maintain production levels because of the very high energy and feed prices. To avert this, decision makers must prioritise food and poultry meat production, to guarantee affordable and continuous supply in the years to come.
The poultry meat producers are affected all along the supply chain, by an unprecedented increase of costs of energy, (especially natural gas, fuel, and electricity), CO2, packaging and external labour which threaten the continuity of the production. Energy and gas supply especially is critical for primary breeding of poultry to maintain the welfare of the birds.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has also resulted in a substantial rise in feed prices, which represent 70% of the cost of production of poultry. This has led to a situation where farmers may prefer to stop production altogether rather than taking the risk of big financial losses.