Poultry revenue in Turkey in 2014 reached $4.5 billion fuelled by an increase in domestic poultry production, consumption and exports. The world’s 9th largest poultry producer however had to face avian influenza outbreaks and turmoil in the region in 2015. How is the sector faring now?
The first Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) case in Turkey was seen in a turkey breeding establishment in the north-western province of Balikesir in October 2005. Turkey also confronted HPAI cases mostly in the Western part of Black sea region and Marmara region in 2007 and 2008. The country was declared free from HPAI in 2009. Yet in 2015, it reared its ugly head again in May. This prompted Iraq and Israel to stop importing poultry and poultry products from Turkey. As half of Turkey's poultry product exports are to Iraq, the economic losses resulting from the recent 2015 avian influenza outbreaks was estimated to be $410 million.
Current poultry production
In terms of production, the country is the world's 9th largest poultry producer, a recently published USDA GAINS report says. The number of broilers in 2015 reached 214 million with a 6.8% increase compared with the previous year. The number of laying hens in 2015 reached 99 million a 5.2% increase compared with the previous year. Poultry production facilities are mainly located in the north-west and west of Turkey, which is close to the concentration of consumers, as well as to the customs gates where the raw feed materials are imported. According to the Turkish Poultry Meat Producers and Breeders Association (BESD-BIR), total poultry meat production including broiler, turkey and the other poultry meat (backyard poultry and meat from laying hens) in 2014 was about 2 million MT and the sector increased by 8.8%.
Broiler meat production was 1,895 MMT and turkey production was 48,663 MT in 2014, according to Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkSTAT). In 2015, broiler meat production, which has a 93% share in Turkey's total poultry meat production, stagnated and realised 1,910 MMT.
Feed availability and costs
Shortages of affordable feed inputs has been a problematic issue for poultry production and the sector anticipates it will continue to be an issue to reach their goals for increased production in the future, as well. Each problem encountered in supplying feed material to the sector has caused production costs to increase and it might be impossible to compete with other exporting countries. The rapid devaluation of Turkey's currency by 21% in 2015 against many foreign currencies has also had a major impact on feed costs for poultry producers.
The poultry sector has encountered many problems in raw material importation for feed due to the Biosafety Law and its regulation. On the other hand, Turkish Biosafety Board has recently approved a few more corn and soybean events and their products for feed use in Turkey. The new implementation period for a law on poultry feeding which would impact the Turkish poultry sector will come into force on 1 January 2017. The Turkish poultry sector is still concerned that if the use of poultry by-products as feed is not allowed, they won't be able to import a sufficient amount of soybeans as a substitute because of Turkey's current Biosafety Legislation.
Poultry consumption and exports
Turkey surpasses the European Union in per capita consumption of broiler meat, with 19.39 kg per capita consumed in 2013 and 21 kg per capita in 2014. Consumption did not see a dramatic drop in 2015 because of the HPAI outbreaks however consumers are becoming increasingly confused regarding poultry meat consumption since there has been media news about GM fed and rapidly growing chickens. Due to this there has been a revival of interest in free range raised or organic chickens.
Turkish poultry exports have declined 17% in 2015 because of the geopolitical problems and avian influenza outbreaks. Exportation is mainly to Iraq with almost 50% of the total export value, followed by Israel, Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan. In 2014, Turkey exported 411 MMT of poultry and poultry products mostly to Iraq, and foreign currency inflow was $668 million. In 2015, Turkey exported 339 MMT poultry worth $441 million. The Turkish poultry sector believes that poultry product exports will resume at their previous pace in 2016 if Turkey does not face any HPAI cases.