Ukraine chicken production, exports to rise in 2020, but at slower pace

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) this week estimated Ukrainian poultry production will continue to grow in 2020, although at a slower rate.
calendar icon 25 March 2020
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Ukraine’s chicken industry is dominated by one large producer, Myronivsky HleboProduct (MHP), which is responsible for over 70 percent of total industrial chicken production. The company finished a major expansion program which led to a significant increase in production and exports in 2019. As a result, Ukraine became the world’s seventh-largest chicken meat exporter.

The European Union market for Ukrainian chicken cuts is expected to mature in 2020. MHP’s exports to other countries will grow, nearing their current major destination markets. The recent acquisition of a Slovenian poultry producer, expansion programs in the Netherlands, Croatia, Serbia and Saudi Arabia will convert MHP into a large multinational producer.

Ukraine’s domestic whole chicken prices continued to increase in 2019, while export prices remained stable or even declined. The increasing spread between these two prices resulted in producers becoming more interested in the domestic market. According to industry sources, MHP will pay more attention to the domestic market for cheap offal. This may lead to a possible decrease in exports to the EU in 2020.

Ukraine’s chicken meat exports are expected to reach another record high number in 2019, ranking it as the world’s seventh largest exporter of chicken meat. Although access problems remain for some export markets, Ukraine’s 2020 exports are likely to be even higher.

Ukraine will continue to be a large importer of chicken offal. Ukraine’s significant exports of premium chicken parts and whole birds would not be possible without domestic substitution of expensive chicken cuts with cheap imported poultry offal. All of Ukraine’s cheap poultry imports are sourced from EU countries. These same Ukrainian poultry imports also served as an important trade argument in the tariff rate quota negotiations with the European Commission. However, poultry production growth in Ukraine and the increasing availability of

domestically produced offal will eventually minimise the need for importation of European product. USDA expects to see Ukraine’s poultry imports start to diminish in 2020.

The Middle East became Ukraine’s top export destination for chicken meat (by volume) and the second export destination for chicken meat (by value). The lucrative EU market remained number one in value but slid to the second place by volume. Neighboring former Soviet Union states and Eurasian Economic Union members are the third most important export region. Africa is the fourth. Exports of Ukrainian chicken meat to South-East Asia remain insignificant, but Ukrainian competent authorities are working hard to open the Chinese poultry market by the summer of 2020.

Only five Ukrainian facilities, belonging to four Ukrainian broiler producers, are approved for export to the EU. Access to the EU market was restored for one Ukrainian producer in 2019. The largest Ukrainian broiler producer, MHP, has both the largest approved facility and utilises nearly the entire quota allocated to Ukraine under the DCFTA. Due to the HPAI outbreak registered in central Ukraine, the EU banned all imports of Ukrainian chicken from January 23 to February 14, 2020. Although MHP announced a possible contraction in production, this short-term ban is unlikely to have a major impact on Ukraine’s 2020 exports.

Ukrainian imports stabilised in 2019 and are expected to start contracting in 2020. Chicken meat imports played a vital role in Ukraine’s surge in exports. Cheap chicken offal imports from the EU were substituted for exported chicken meat in the domestic market and paved the way for the EU import TRQ. A growing interest among Ukrainian domestic chicken producers in the lower market segment in Ukraine is expected to result in an increase in domestic production of chicken offal. As a result, EU exports to Ukraine may start to decrease as early as 2020.

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