March 1, 2011

Middle East is Principal Destiny for Brazilian Chicken Exports

Author: Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.

Brazilian poultry producers and processors hope to maintain their dominate position as the leading poultry exporter to the Middle East. That was the subject of a recent meeting between the president of the Brazilian Union of Poultry Producers and executives from Brazilian poultry processors and exporters. The meeting was held in Dubai during Gulffood 2011, which is most important annual food expo held in the Middle East.

The regions six Gulf States including: Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Iran, Iraq, and Yemen imported a total of 1.659 million tons of chicken in 2011 from Brazil, the United States, and the European Union. Of the total, Brazil was responsible for 1.174 million tons or 70% of the total chicken exported to the region.

Saudi Arabia is the largest overall importer of Brazilian chicken importing a total of 551,000 tons in 2010 or an 80% market share of all the chicken imported into the country. Brazilian chicken maintains a 74% market share for all the chicken imported into the United Arab Emirates and in Kuwait the market share is even greater at 91%.

As impressive as these market share totals are, export officials feel there is room for additional growth. In Iraq, the per capita consumption of chicken doubled in just four years going from 9.8 kilograms in 2007 to 17.9 kilograms in 2010 and it is expected to hit 18.4 kilograms in 2011. Saudi Arabia is already the largest importer of Brazilian chicken, but there is room for growth in that country as well. During the last three years, Brazil's poultry exports to Saudi Arabia increased 150,000 tons and during the same three year period, the per capita consumption of chicken increased five kilograms. Just maintaining the present level of growth would mean that Brazilian exporters can expect to sell ever increasing volumes of chicken in the country.

Recent upheavals in North Africa and the Middle East are not seen as long term deterrents to expanded chicken exports to the region. High oil prices and an interest in improved nutrition are seen as stimulates for imports.