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World meat production, trade to get a boost

Our Bureau

MUMBAI, Oct. 23

FOOD safety concerns, which slowed annual growth in meat trade in 2001 to its lowest level for 13 years, are abating; and recovering meat consumption, particularly of beef, is supporting a 3 per cent rise in meat trade to 18 million tonnes, according to Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

Many of the markets closed to meat products from those countries in South America and Europe afflicted with foot and mouth disease in 2001 are opening, prompting strong gains for both beef and pig meat shipments.

Meanwhile, concerns about veterinary drug residues have led to market closures for poultry, and differential exchange rate movements have caused shifts in exporter shares to traditional markets, a report on meat and meat products said.

Global meat production in 2002 is forecast to rise by 2.5 per cent to 242 mt. The bulk of the increase is the result of an estimated 3 per cent growth among the developing countries, pushing up their share of world production to 56 per cent, up one per cent from last year and 5 per cent from 1995.

Output in the developed countries is also expected to increase, recovering from two successive years of decline. Over two-thirds of the meat consumption gains forecast for 2002 are expected to take place in developing countries, pushing their per caput consumption to 28 kilograms, the agency pointed out.

A slight recovery in developed country levels to 80 kg/caput is also foreseen, while the world average stands at nearly 40 kg/caput.

Pressured by rising meat supplies, global meat prices in the current year have dropped. While 2001 saw food safety concerns relating to BSE (mad cow disease) influence the market, price movements this year are primarily due to abundant meat supplies, particularly in those meat producing countries previously restricted from exporting, as well as policy developments in major markets.

Other factors underlying global meat markets in 2002 include the waning impact of animal diseases, rising feed prices in major grain exporting markets and economic uncertainties in South America that led to sharp exchange rate movements over the course of the year, FAO noted.

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