Rosy Future for Egg Production in Asia

Leading exhibitors in the special show sector, Eggs!, at VIV Asia in Bangkok earlier this month may have had different interests in the egg industry but all were optimistic about the future of the sector in Asia, writes Jackie Linden, editor of ThePoultrySite.
calendar icon 25 March 2009
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Interviews with some of the well-known suppliers to the egg industry revealed an almost unanimous positive view of the future of egg production in Asia: despite some short-term difficulties, production will rise across the region as a whole.

Representing the breeding sector, Dr R. Preisinger from Lohmann Tierzucht summed up the consensus, predicting the most rapid growth in China and India. He said, "We expect major growth to take place, especially in China and India, whereas growth in other Asian countries may be more moderate."

For the feed and nutrition segment, Dr D. Joardar of Novus International, added, "Asia has a population in excess of three billion people, led by China and India as the most populous countries in the world. The growth in the egg industry will be fuelled by China more than India. Seventy per cent of the growth in the world egg industry will be contributed by Asia in the next five years."

"Our view is that the egg industry in Asia during the next five years will continue to out-pace the rest of the world. The reasons are obvious: demographics and economics. Asia, with its fast growing human population and above-average growth in disposable income per capita has great potential for increased egg product consumption. It is generally accepted that egg producers in Asia will account for practically all of the increase in volume," confirmed P. Degraeve of Petersime for the hatching sector.

B. McCawley focussed on the importance of eggs as a food source, saying "Due to the anticipated growth in population, I see egg production increasing in the region as well, as it is still an inexpensive source of protein and a basic food for many dietary needs." Mr McCawley of Big Dutchman put the point of view of the housing and equipment suppliers.

For the animal health sector, Ruud Aerdts of Intervet/Schering Plough Animal Health sounded a word of warning about the short-term prospects for the egg industry. "Probably egg production in some Asian countries will be affected in the short term due to the current economic crisis, although this will be rather minimal compared to the meat sector," he said. However, he was clearly more optimistic about the future, adding, "However, it is our firm belief that the egg industry in Asia, particularly in countries such as India, China and Indonesia, will continue to grow rapidly."

Dr Joardar held a similar view. He said, "Although the present fiscal year is witnessed by negative impact on the growth of the egg industry all over Asia due to low farm-gate prices, over-supply and high feed costs. This is a temporary phase: the growth is set to pick up when farm-gate prices improve again and demand returns. This swinging nature of the industry, i.e. growth followed by contraction and a spurt in growth, will continue to happen but overall, growth of the industry will be positive. The consumption pattern in Asia varies widely with India less than 50 eggs per capita to more than 300 eggs in China. On an average, the rate of expansion is likely to be between two and five per cent."

Mr Degraeve agreed. "Despite the current economic set-back, we are very positive about the mid- and long-term growth perspectives of the egg industry, and consequently the layer hatchery industry in Asia," he said.

Paul Buisman of Moba represented the egg handling and processing sectors. He foresees particularly rapid growth in egg processing in Asia. "Asia is now producing close to 38 million metric tons of eggs, of which, seven to eight per cent is handled in an automated way. This is expected to grow to approximately 41 million metric tonnes and 10 per cent automatic handling. Although factors out of anyone's control, such as avian influenza and the worldwide economic situation may influence this prediction negatively, it is beyond doubt that a lot of focus in the poultry industry will be on Asia in the next decade, he said.

March 2009

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