ANALYSIS - The US has reported record export figures for chicken and turkey meat as well as eggs in 2012, which it attributes to the ability to adapt to changing trading situations. Ukraine also exported more chicken meat and products last year, and output increases in Venezuela have put the country now fourth in the Latin American poultry meat league table. Bird flu outbreaks have been reported in Mexico and Nepal as well as the low-pathogenic form at a German duck farm; Cambodia has recorded the deaths of two more human victims.
US exports of poultry meat and eggs broke records in 2012 - thanks in large part to the industry's ability to adapt to changing global marketplace dynamics, according to the industry's export body.
Combined export value of US poultry meat and eggs reached $5.722 billion in 2012, 12 per cent ahead of 2011, the previous record year, according to year-end trade data released by the Foreign Agricultural Service.
"The global landscape is in a constant state of transition," said Jim Sumner, president of the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council (USAPEEC). "While our traditional markets of Mexico and Russia remained at the top of the broiler markets, there were numerous changes, such as Angola and Taiwan moving into the top 10 broiler markets and Mexico growth as a market for eggs. The greatest benefit for our industry is a much greater balance than we've ever before realised."
Total US egg exports - table eggs plus processed egg products in shell-egg equivalents - were 274.1 million dozen valued at $263.7 million. These represent increases of 24 and 35 per cent from 2011, respectively.
US turkey exports also broke records, climbing to 361,597 tons valued at $678.5 million, up 14 and 13 per cent, respectively.
Also booming is Venezuelan poultry production, where there has been a reported 21-per-cent increase in chicken output to a total of 1.11 million tons in 2012. This makes the country the fourth biggest poultry nation in Latin America behind Brazil, Mexico and Argentina. Venezuelan egg production is also on the rise.
Last year, Ukraine exported meat and meat products worth US$316 million. The largest export sector was poultry meat and offal at 80,653 tonnes, worth $145.2 million.
Changing topic, in the UK, diversification into renewable energy can bring good investment returns for farmers providing a steady and predictable income.
The income is not related to volatile food prices and can be traced forward for between 20 and 25 years, according to Steve Edmunds, director of Mole Valley Renewables. He was addressing the 'Energy Now' conference in Telford, reported Editor in Chief, Chris Harris, from the event.
And finally, turning to news of bird flu. The leading chicken company in Mexico has reported suspicions of H7N3 at five of its breeder farms in the state of Guanajuato. The discovery of low-pathogenic H5N1 at a duck farm in the German state of Brandenburg has resulted in the slaughter of the whole flock. The human death toll from H5N1 in Cambodia has risen again and now stands at seven already this year. FAO has published a report on lessons learned from from the fight against highly pathogenic avian influenza in Asia between 2005 and 2011.
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