June 21, 2021

FAO: Global meat output to increase 2.2% this year


Global meat output in 2021 is forecast to increase by 2.2%, to 346 million tonnes, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.


The increase reflected an anticipated rebound in meat production in China, with notable expansions in Brazil, Vietnam, the United States and the European Union. It will, however, also be partially offset by likely contractions in Australia, the Philippines and Argentina.


The anticipated meat production growth in China reflects likely output expansions across all meat types, especially pig meat, driven by large investments in enhancing meat value chains and biosafety. Seemingly swift recovery from African swine fever-induced output contraction is also anticipated in Vietnam.


Although narrowed due to rising production, a large pig meat deficit persists in China, inducing production expansions in all animal production systems, including in key supplier regions, especially Brazil and the EU.


Production expansion in Europe and North America is also supported by slowly reviving food services sales in line with successful COVID-19 vaccinations, better sanitary conditions and government assistance provided to the livestock sector under COVID-19 market stabilisation efforts.


By contrast, meat production is likely to fall in Australia, underpinned by high herd rebuilding demand, and in Argentina due to lower cattle supplies. In parts of Africa, Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean, meat value chains remained under pressure due to continued COVID-19 market restrictions, coupled with rising feed costs, limited cattle supplies or droughts.


World trade in meat products in 2021 is forecast to reach 42 million tonnes (carcass weight equivalent), nearly unchanged from 2020, as expected expansions in bovine and poultry meat trade are likely to be almost entirely offset by likely declines in pig meat trade and ovine meat trade. The overall global meat trade is forecast to be driven by China, with its total meat purchases exceeding 11 million tonnes, induced by the continued large meat supply deficit and demand for replenishing strategic stocks, despite rising domestic production.


International meat prices rose from January to May, reflecting solid import demand, especially from East Asia and the Middle East, amid limited expansion in global export supplies and despite recovering productions in key producing regions.