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International Egg and Poultry Review: Venezuela

20 October 2011

VENEZUELA - Poultry represents 30 per cent of Venezuela's total agricultural GDP and more than 48 per cent of its animal production according to the USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS.

Production

Venezuela's poultry production consists primarily of chicken meat as very little turkey or duck meat is produced or consumed. The Venezuelan Poultry Federation (FENAVI) estimates the average monthly production of chicken meat in 2011 to be about 80,000 metric tons (MT). About 60 per cent of Venezuela's broiler production is concentrated in the central part of Venezuela (Aragua and Carabobo States) with 20 per cent in the western part (Zulia State), 18 per cent in the eastern part and two per cent in the southern part.

Venezuelan producers would like to expand production about 12 per cent in 2011. This would equate to industry supplying about 25,000MT of broiler meat per month to the government's distribution networks (Mercal, PDVAL) from its current 7,000MT to 8,000MT per month. However, to realise this, Venezuelan producers would need government support. Presently, the government of Venezuela acts as both a supplier and importer of poultry meat through its state-owned food distribution networks. Mercal and PDVAL are known to offer poultry at prices lower than the controlled prices in commercial outlets.

Likewise, FENAVI estimates average table egg production per month to be 1,180,000 boxes of 360 units in 2011. About 85 per cent of Venezuela's egg production is concentrated in the central region with 10 per cent in the Western region and five per cent in the eastern region.

According to FENAVI, about 80 per cent of Venezuela's poultry industry practices conventional farming methods, whereas the remaining 20 per cent are more modern operations with newer equipment and environmental controls. Industry continues to strive towards modernisation. The industry is vertically integrated and works closely with animal feed processors. About 77 per cent of domestic animal feed production goes to the poultry sector with 17 per cent to pork, five per cent to beef, and one per cent to the remaining sectors. However, Venezuela is unable to produce all of the domestic grain needed and relies on imports of corn and soybeans.

Consumption

FENAVI estimates per-capita meat consumption of meat to be about 73.5kg. About 53 per cent of this is chicken meat, 33 per cent beef and 14 per cent pork. Of all the animal protein consumed by Venezuelans, poultry comprises about 61 per cent of the total. The average consumption of chicken meat is about 112 grams per day, which is more than twice that of beef. The shortage of beef in 2009 and 2010, combined with poultry's cheap prices, has helped boost poultry consumption. A majority of Venezuela's domestic poultry production is sold fresh (80 to 90 per cent), whereas the rest is processed into products like frozen nuggets, hams, sausages, etc.

Prices

Venezuela's government controls retail poultry prices and has since 2003. The last price review was conducted in March 2010 and producers have been lobbying government for a new review due to higher production costs and claims of profit loss.

Trade

Despite strong domestic production, Venezuela has imported whole poultry from Brazil the past six years; however Brazilian imports fell 14.4 per cent in the first semester of 2010. Imports from Brazil and others are not subject to tariffs or custom charges. Prior to 2010, Colombia was the primary genetics supplier to Venezuela. Now Venezuela gets most of its imports from Brazil and Argentina. Colombia has only recently resumed its role as an exporter of fertile eggs to Venezuela. The government imports poultry meat and genetics giving preference to South American countries.

Trade between Venezuela and Colombia ceased in late 2009 after Venezuela issued a directive severing ties with Colombia in protest to agreements made between the US and Colombia. Colombian imports, mostly agricultural, were restricted and the issuance of sanitary certificates denied. In 2009, about 17 per cent of Colombia's poultry production was dedicated to Venezuela. From January-May 2010 exports fell 76 per cent between the countries versus the year previously. In response, Colombia filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) citing Venezuela's actions were not reported through official channels and the WTO was not properly notified. Meanwhile, Colombian poultry exports developed markets in Asia and the Caribbean, whereas Venezuela imported more from Brazil, Argentina and the US. In August 2010, Colombia's new government met with Venezuela in its efforts to restore relations. The two then began working on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) to be finalised before Venezuela pulled out of CAN (Community of Andean Nations) April 2011.
Source: USDA FAS Attaché/World Trade Organization (WTO)/CIA World Factbook/Various News Wires

Further Reading

- You can view the full report by clicking here.

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