August 27, 2020
 
The coming ascendancy of South Asian feed and livestock
 
Led by India and with Pakistan and Bangladesh growing even faster, South Asia's 1.8 billion people will undergo several decades of 6% annual feed output growth.
 
By Eric J. Brooks
 
An eFeedLink Hot Topic
 
 
Although Pacific Rim nations dominate world agribusiness, attention will soon shift to those parts of Asia bordering on the Indian Ocean. Containing more people than China and expanding twice as quickly, South Asia's 1.8 billion people are emerging as one of the world's most important, rapidly growing but immature feed and livestock markets.

From just under 15 million tonnes in 2000, the combined feed output of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Nepal grew at a 7.5% rate, totaling an Alltech Global Feed Survey estimated 33.3 million tonnes in 2011.

Defying coup attempts and domestic terrorism in three of these five nations, the criminalizing of cattle slaughtering and beef eating in many parts of India, countless bird flu outbreaks and serious feed price inflation, South Asian feed output still grew at a 6.6% rate from 2011 through 2019 inclusive, when it totalled 54.4 million tonnes.

India accounted for 39 million tonnes. Together with Pakistan (7.9mt) and Bangladesh (5.7mt), these three nations account for 97% of South Asia's feed output and a similar proportion of its population.

Going forward, South Asian nations will take several decades for their meat consumption levels to approach those taken for granted in East Asia, let alone the west. The good news for feed sector stakeholders and suppliers is that while Southeast Asia resembles China in the late 1990s, South Asia looks more like China in the early 1980s –with at least three decades of rapid, pent up growth ahead of it.

After a year or perhaps two of a COVID-19 induced pause in feed output around 53 million tonnes, many factors point to South Asia surprising the world economy with unexpectedly strong feed demand. The raw undeveloped potential was there even 20 years ago, but so were a slew of political troubles and the ashes of recently extinguished civil wars or uprisings in places such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka.

With now everything in place for sustained economic growth, the South Asia region has not been this stable in the six decades since its countries achieved independence. With domestic political stability, Pakistan can finally actualize the 7% annual feed output growth potential it had even two decades ago. Less developed than Pakistan, Bangladesh may see growth slip into the 7% to 9% range but that will still be the fastest in South Asia.

Containing most of South Asia's people and nearly 75% of its feed production, India has the region's highest living standards and is the most technologically forward of its feed industries. Even so, Indian per capita poultry and dairy consumption must double two times to approach levels taken for granted in China and Southeast Asia. Consequently, strong Indian economic fundamentals leave it poised for several decades of 5% to 6% feed output growth.

Pakistan and Bangladesh's less developed markets are well placed to boost feed production slightly faster. This should keep South Asia's feed output growing by slightly over 6% annually, from today's 54 million tonnes to 72 million tonnes by 2025 and over 97 million tonnes by 2030.
 


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