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Weekly Overview: Good Prospects for Global Meat, Livestock Sectors

20 February 2014

GLOBAL - Focusing on some positive news stories this week, two speakers at a recent conference in London spoke about improving prospects for the livestock sector, writes Jackie Linden. There has also been progress on Campylobacter control in Europe, with - at last - a reduction in the cases of campylobacteriosis in the last year; prevalence of salmonellosis is also down again. The number of new cases of influenza in poultry and people in China, Cambodia and Viet Nam are, however a cause for concern.

The prospects for the global meat and livestock sector are good with better economic growth and continued growth in meat consumption.

Richard Brown from the market analysts GIRA, speaking at the Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board Outlook conference in London last week said that meat consumption is expected to grow by 1.5 per cent this year in volume, while producer prices are expected to remain stable or even decrease.

Last year, the growth in meat consumption was modest at just 0.7 per cent because the meat chain was worried about feed costs, Mr Brown told the conference. However, that growth is expected to more than double to 1.5 per cent this year largely based on a growth in chicken consumption.

Meat and dairy exports present a huge opportunity for the UK food sector particularly with new markets opening up in countries such as India and China.

Junior agriculture minister George Eustice, speaking at the same event, said that exports offer great opportunities for British agriculture particularly with a growing global population demanding more food.

The numbers of cases of infections from Campylobacter and Salmonella in Europe are falling, according to a new report from the European Food Safety Authority, EFSA.

In the United States, United Egg Producers (UEP) has ended its support of The Egg Bill and agreed with an animal rights group not to continue their agreement.

On bird flu news, so far this year, Cambodia has now reported three deaths from H5N1 influenza, while China has reported nine cases of H7N9 flu. While there has been assurance from China that human-to-bird transmission of the H7N9 virus is unlikely, a warning has been put out from China of the growing possibility of reassortment of the H7N9 and H9N2 subtypes, increasing the risk of a future pandemic.

Further outbreaks of H5N1 highly pathogenic avian flu in poultry have been reported in the last week in China and 11 provinces of Viet Nam are now affected.

Jackie Linden

Jackie Linden

Top image via Shutterstock

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