Argentinean poultry consumption meets beef for first time

24-12-2020 | | |
For the first time in history, Argentinian consumption of poultry meat reaches the same level as beef. Photo: Herbert Wiggerman
For the first time in history, Argentinian consumption of poultry meat reaches the same level as beef. Photo: Herbert Wiggerman

In 2020, Argentineans consumed 50 kilos of poultry meat per capita, matching beef consumption for the first time in history.

The trend continued from 2019, when consumption per inhabitant also increased from 46 to 48 kilos. According to the Argentinean Center of Poultry Processors (CEPA), the increased consumption is caused by a negative development. Exports to Brazil have been low due to low prices on the Brazilian market, which resulted in local overproduction in Argentina. The Argentine poultry sector had anticipated a growth in exports, but the drop in world trade has stunted this growth and forced it to sell its meat on the domestic market.

Those 3 extra kilos saturated the domestic market and depressed prices. “We are even selling at lower prices than that authorized by the Secretariat of Commerce,” CEPA president Roberto Domenech told newspaper Clarín. The poultry chain turned out 2.4 million tonnes in 2019 and a growth of 2.5% to 3% had been planned in 2020. The idea was to trade the increased production on the foreign market.

A post on CEPA´s Facebook page informs that 270,000 tonnes were exported last year and the goal was to ship 305,000 tonnes in 2020. In the last 3 months of 2019, Argentina has exported 25,000 tonnes per month and their expectations were to sustain it in 2020. The impact of the pandemic and the devaluation of Brazilian currency pressured Argentinean exportations down to between 20,000 and 17,000 tons per month.

Brazilian poultry producers face high grain prices
Brazilian poultry producers face the worst buying power in history due to a major rise of corn prices (80%) and soybean prices (50%) this year.

The industry expects that 2020 exports will amount to 240,000 tonnes. In other words, 30,000 tonnes less than last year, all of which found its way to the domestic market. “With the Real devalued, Brazilian chicken has driven us away from competitive prices and many others,” said CEPA. In spite of the high consumption per capita, retailers are saturated and people´s purchasing power has been falling. “It is a very difficult year,” CEPA concluded.

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Daniel Azevedo Freelance journalist Brazil