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The Warsaw Voice » Special Sections » September 30, 2013
Polska… tastes good!
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Polish Poultry Power
September 30, 2013   
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Poland has become a European powerhouse in the production and exports of poultry over the past several years. This is because Polish poultry meat is competitively priced, combined with the fact that poultry consumption in both Poland and across the European Union is growing, as is demand for poultry meat in developing countries.

In 2012, poultry meat production in Poland approached 1.6 million metric tons and was about 11 percent higher than in 2011. This year, with a projected output of 1.7 million tons, Poland is set to outperform France and become Europe’s largest poultry producer.

Poland’s poultry sector, with average annual growth of 7 percent in the last six years, is one of the fastest growing segments of the country’s agri-food sector. Consumption of poultry, the cheapest type of meat, is increasing on the domestic market.

Retail prices of poultry meat in Poland increased by 6 percent last year over 2011, while the prices of pork and beef increased by 10 and 14 percent respectively.

According to estimates by the Institute of Agricultural and Food Economics (IERiG¯), per capita consumption of poultry in Poland stood at 26.5 kg last year, an increase of 6 percent from a year earlier. According to IERiG¯ experts, the trend towards replacing red meat with cheaper poultry meat will continue this year and the average Pole will consume about 27 kg of poultry.

Exports are another driving force behind the development of the Polish poultry sector. In the first six months of this year, Polish producers sold almost 280,000 tons of poultry abroad. That’s about 10 percent more than last year. Throughout 2013, exports are expected to exceed 600,000 tons, according to forecasts by the National Poultry Council.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development says 80 percent (225,000 tons) of Poland’s poultry exports in the first six months of this year were destined for EU markets. But the fastest growth was recorded in the case of exports to non-EU countries. These grew by a whopping 28 percent (12,000 tons) in year-on-year terms to 54,000 tons.

China and Benin are the largest non-EU export markets for Polish poultry, but countries such as Ukraine, Russia and the Republic of Congo are also increasingly prominent among Polish poultry buyers. The growth of exports to EU markets was slower and hovered around 8 percent in year-on-year terms. If the upward trend continues, the demand for poultry meat in non-EU countries could prove a driving force for Poland’s exports in the long term.

In terms of the structure of Polish poultry meat exports, Germany, Britain and the Czech Republic continue to lead the way. Combined, they account for more than 30 percent of Poland’s poultry meat exports.

According to forecasts by the Institute of Agricultural and Food Economics, poultry meat production in Poland will increase 8 percent in 2013 to 1.71 million tons, with 37 percent of the output destined for export markets. The slightly slower growth will be due to slower export growth in the first half of this year, which in part is a consequence of the introduction of a ban on ritual slaughter in Poland. In the second half of the year, foreign sales will likely be significantly higher.

Polish poultry producers have demonstrated they are capable of expanding their business even in the difficult crisis period. Polish poultry is competitively priced, enabling Poland to grab an increasingly bigger piece of the EU pie. Poland was responsible for 9 percent of total EU poultry exports last year, almost a third more than a year earlier.

According to Micha³ Kole¶nikow, an analyst at Bank Gospodarki ¯ywno¶ciowej, Poland’s poultry industry has robust development prospects, mainly due to growing demand for poultry meat in emerging markets and steadily growing consumption of poultry meat in the European Union. Another positive factor for the industry is declining pork production and the relatively high prices of this meat in Poland, Kole¬nikow says. However, he cautions, these generally good prospects may change if the economic situation in Poland and other EU countries deteriorates or if there is a strong appreciation of the zloty or a significant increase in feed prices.

Meanwhile, forecasts by the European Commission suggest poultry consumption in the EU is expected to grow until the end of the decade at an average rate of 0.9 percent a year.
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