GLOBAL POULTRY TRENDS 2011 - Africa Outpaces Global Egg Growth

Output continues to rise in Africa and Oceania, writes market watcher, Terry Evans, in his latest analysis of the egg industries in these two regions.
calendar icon 30 April 2012
clock icon 8 minute read

Egg Production in African Countries

Africa accounts for only a little over four per cent of world egg production (table 1). However, its rate of growth, averaging 3.4 per cent a year between 2000 and 2010, easily outstripped the global figure of 2.2 per cent (table 2). Looking ahead, production in this region will continue to increase with output reaching at least 2.8 million tonnes in 2012 and possibly topping three million tonnes by 2015.

Global egg output should come close to 65 million tonnes in 2012 (table 1), of which, Africa could produce 2.8 million tonnes or 4.3 per cent.

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Just five countries, Nigeria, South Africa, Egypt, Morocco and Algeria accounted for 1.83 million tonnes of eggs or 69 per cent of the regional total in 2010 (table 3). However, it is noteworthy that of the 53 countries in the region, only five failed to produce more eggs in 2010 than in 2000; one of these – Morocco – was in the top five.

For most of these countries, the rate of growth has been moderate but increases of more than 50 per cent were recorded in nine (table 2). Among the smaller producing nations, Benin’s industry appears to have recorded a massive expansion of more than seven per cent a year while in Guinea, the increase was only a little less than this.

It might be pertinent here to underline the point that in many developing countries around the world, a question mark hangs over the accuracy of the data, which is why the trend in production may be a better guide as to what is happening in an industry rather than paying too much attention to the output figures in any one year. Should the figures be important to your needs, it would be wise to examine more closely the source of the data and also to look to alternative assessments.

After growing over the period 2000 to 2007, production in Morocco has since contracted such that the estimate of output in 2010 of 230,000 tonnes was some 5,000 tonnes less than 10 years earlier.

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The leading producer in the region is Nigeria where output, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) data (table 2) expanded by some 56 per cent in the decade to 2010 to reach 623,000 tonnes or some 23 per cent of the total for Africa. It should be noted that the FAO-based production data in tables 1 to 3 relate to all hen eggs and includes output from backyard and hatchery flocks as well as commercial table egg operations.

According to the FAO, the total number of layers in Nigeria exceeded 153 million in 2010. However, the representative from Nigeria at last year’s annual meeting of the International Egg Commission (IEC) stated that the number of layers totalled just 90 million, though it is possible that this related just to the commercial sector. Virtually all the eggs produced are brown and it is estimated that around 70 per cent are housed in cages, the remaining 30 per cent being kept in barns.

South Africa is the second largest producer, annual output having risen by some 135,000 tonnes or 43 per cent between 2000 and 2010. IEC figures indicate that the commercial table egg flock in 2010 amounted to some 23 million producing almost 388,000 tonnes of eggs. In 2011, the flock is considered to have grown to 24 million with production up by 3.6 per cent to 19.2 million cases. Based on an average egg weight of a little over 58g, table egg production will have amounted to a record of almost 402,00 tonnes last year. The split between brown and white layers was 25:75, with some 86 per cent of the flock in cages the remainder being kept on free range.

The Southern African Poultry Association (SAPA) is reviewing its Code of Practice to bring it into line with international standards and best practice. Recent years have seen great emphasis being put on animal health precautionary measures, disease surveillance and control, in order to reduce the incidence of disease and minimise the impact of outbreaks should they occur. As in most countries around the world, South Africa’s egg industry is being affected by international factors, including rising feed ingredient costs. While production in South Africa has stagnated latterly, current lower prices for maize (corn), soybeans and day-old chicks when compared to 2011, are more than offsetting disappointing prices for table eggs. With this brighter outlook, profits should strengthen leading to an upward movement in egg production back towards the 2008 record.

Although production in Egypt doubled between 2000 and 2008 to reach 356,000 tonnes, it has since declined a shade to 336,000 tonnes in 2010. It is considered that commercial units provide some 70 per cent of output, the remainder being classified as backyard or Balady operations. While commercial flocks produce between 240 and 270 eggs per year, Balady birds yield between 170 and 180 eggs. While the average egg weight in the commercial flocks is put at between 60 to 65g, Balady eggs usually average between 45 and 50g.

Despite some growth to 2007, the egg industry in Morocco has been stable in the following years until 2010, when output at 230,000 tonnes was marginally below the 2000 level. A report issued last year indicated that the US Grains Council (USGC) had agreed to work with the Moroccan Poultry Association (FISA) to help promote eggs.

Figure 1. Egg production trends in Africa and selected African countries ('000 tonnes)

Output of Oceania‘s Egg Industry

Egg production in Oceania expanded by 2.4 per cent a year between 2000 and 2010 as output escalated from a little less than 200,000 tonnes to almost 254,000 tonnes although this still represented only 0.4 per cent of the world total.

Australia and New Zealand combined account for more than 92 per cent of the regional total, hence developments in these two countries are the key determinants of the overall trend.

The rate of expansion in New Zealand has been almost double that recorded by Australia, so New Zealand’s share of the regional total has increased from 21.6 per cent in 2000 to 23.8 per cent in 2010, while Australia’s stake has slipped from 71.7 per cent to 68.6 per cent.

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Production in Australia, based on FAO statistics, rose by 22 per cent between 2000 and 2010 to reach 174,000 tonnes. However, the FAO statistics are well out of line with the data published by the Australian Egg Corporation Ltd (AECL). This organisation states that there were some 332 laying farms in the country with a total flock of some 16.4 million in 2010. Output came close to 263,000 tonnes of eggs. For 2011, AECL considers production to have been in the region of 280,000 tonnes. In 2010, 68 per cent of the flock was in cages, 25 per cent on free–range and seven per cent in barns. The free–range sector has expanded fairly rapidly and in 2010, it is considered to have accounted for 28 per cent of all the eggs sold retail.

New Zealand’s industry managed to increase production by 40 per cent in the decade to 2010 as output climbed to exceed 60,000 tonnes. Data from the Egg Producers Federation of New Zealand (EPF) indicates that production in 2010 topped one billion eggs for the first time. This is equivalent to an output of around 63,000 tonnes. Almost 87 per cent of the flock is in cages with 11 per cent on free range and 2.5 per cent in barn systems.

An Animal Welfare (Layer Hens) Code has been drafted and is currently being considered by the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC). After this organisation’s deliberations, the Code will go to the Minister of Primary Industries for consideration. Under the provisions of this new Code, conventional cages will be discontinued in favour of the enriched colony cage systems. The industry is asking for a 15–year transition period because of the extra costs involved in making the required changes although estimates of the actual time that may be given currently range from 10 to 15 years.

While it is reasonable to assume that the egg industries in Oceania will continue to expand, the annual rate of growth will likely be less than two per cent pointing to an output in the range of 275,000 to 280,000 tonnes by 2015.

Egg products account for around 10 per cent of the region's shell egg output; the bulk will be manufactured in Australia.

May 2012

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