China’s ban on chicken imports from the US, as well as other origins affected by bird flu, will have the counter-intuitive effect pushing total import demand to a 7-year high, US government officials said.
The US Department of Agriculture’s Beijing bureau has forecast China’s 2016 chicken imports at 400,000 tonnes, a 54% revision on the previous official USDA figure.
This is the highest level since 2009, and compares to 250,000 tonnes in 2015.
The increase in import demand is seen resulting from a 550,000 tonne drop in domestic broiler meat production, as producers struggle to obtain breeding stock for the broiler industry.
Breeding stocks fall short
Due to import restrictions, it is becoming harder for China to source breeding stocks of white-feathered broilers, which are the preferred pedigree for industrial meat production.
The Chinese chicken industry relies on the import of so-called “grandparent stocks”, the second-generation progeny of pedigree chickens, which in turn produce parent stocks, the eggs of which are hatched into industrial broiler chickens.
The United States previously provided around 90% of China’s “grandparent stocks,” with France and New Zealand making up the rest of the supplies.
US supplies shut off
But with bird flu restrictions shutting off supplies from the US and France, China is forced to rely on imports from New Zealand, and assorted minor players, which are unable to meet demand.
Imports of white broiler grandparent stocks fell from 1.17m breeding pairs in 2014, to just 694,000 pairs in 2015, and are forecast to fall to under 500,000 pairs in 2016, the USDA said.
Production of the local yellow-feathered chicken bloodlines is forecast to increase, but not enough to prevent an overall drop in chicken meat production.
550,000 tonne trim to production
The Beijing bureau trimmed ideas of total Chinese broiler meat production by 3% to 12.72m, compared to the previous official estimate.
2015 broiler meat production was seen at 13.27m tonne.
Despite the fall in production, 2016 exports were actually edged up by 5,000 tonnes to 380,000 tonnes, but this still leaves them at their lowest level since 2010.
South American boost
With US supplies off the table, South America was seen as the main beneficiary of Chinese demand.
“Imports from South American countries are increasing especially from Brazil as more poultry plants export to China,” the bureau said.
These import figures do not include chicken feet, of which China is the world’s key importer.
(Source – http://www.agrimoney.com/news/ban-on-us-chicken-actually-boosts-chinas-total-import-demand–9274.html)