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Polish Meat an Export Hit

Send Print Download added: | 2013-08-07 12:01:51

Polish Meat an Export Hit

Polish meat is proving a success on markets across Europe, and Polish producers are also shipping more meat products to Asia.

Poultry is particularly successful among the products offered by the Polish meat sector for export. According to Poland's Agricultural Market Agency, the country's poultry exports increased 18 percent last year thanks to factors including the competitive prices of Polish poultry on EU markets. Polish poultry exports have been growing steadily since 2004, with the exception of 2009, when an economic slowdown hit European Union countries.

Exports play a growing role in the development of Poland's poultry sector. In 2009, exports accounted for 29 percent of total poultry production in Poland, growing to 32 percent a year later and 35-36 percent in 2012.

According to the Foreign Agriculture Markets Monitoring Unit at the Foundation of Assistance Programs for Agriculture (FAMMU/FAPA), in 2012, Poland had an over 1-billion-euro surplus in the trade of live poultry, poultry meat and poultry products, an increase of 15.5 percent over 2011. The overall volume of poultry exports increased by 18 percent to 580,200 metric tons, and the value increased by 14 percent to 1,178.9 million euros. Around 90 percent of the Polish poultry sector's revenue from exports was from meat and offal, and the rest was from poultry products.

Traditionally, the main buyers of Polish poultry meat and products are other European Union countries, chiefly Germany, Britain and the Czech Republic. Polish poultry exports have been growing largely because Polish poultry has a relatively low price tag and is consequently competitive on EU markets.

Polish poultry is also popular on non-European markets. In 2012, Poland was the fourth largest EU poultry exporter to non-EU countries, after France, the Netherlands and Germany. The most important non-EU market for Polish exporters was Hong Kong, and shipments to China also increased significantly. China is importing more poultry from the EU after five-year anti-dumping duties on poultry from the United States were introduced in 2011. African countries are also becoming increasingly important for Polish poultry exporters, especially Benin, Congo and Togo. Frozen chicken meat dominates in shipments to these markets. Exports of live poultry from Poland are also growing. In 2012, the volume of these exports increased by 25 percent, and their value was 32 percent higher than in 2011. As in previous years, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) was the largest export market for Polish live poultry.

In recent years, domestic consumption of poultry has increased as well. Estimates by the Institute of Agricultural and Food Economics show that consumers in Poland ate 3 percent more poultry meat in 2012 than a year earlier. Average per capita consumption was 26 kg. Experts say people in Poland are eager to buy poultry because it is cheaper than other types of meat. Experts expect that the demand for meat will increase further this year.

The last several years have been good not only for exporters of poultry meat-exporters of pork also have reasons for satisfaction. Last year, Poland shipped abroad 363,000 tons of pork with a total value of 760 million euros. The FAMMU/FAPA data show that the growth of Polish pork exports was among of the highest in the European Union, at about 20 percent. This year Polish producers have continued to record good results in pork exports. According to the Ministry of Finance, in the first quarter of this year, exports of unprocessed pork totaled 96,700 tons and were 14 percent higher than in the same period last year. More than half of the Polish pork (about 53 percent) went to markets across the EU, mainly Italy (which accounted for 12 percent of all exports), Hungary, Slovakia and Germany.

Japan advanced to first place in terms of the value of Polish pork exports. Exports to that country are up by 90 percent in year-on-year terms at 9,300 tons, an increase of 4,400 tons. Japan imports the most expensive meat cuts, as a result of which the value of exports to that country in the first quarter of this year amounted to 29 million euros.

China is becoming a key partner as well. In the first quarter it imported 11,500 tons. However, China imports less expensive items, so in this case the value of exports amounted to around 14 million euros. If Poland's relations with China continue to develop as dynamically as they have in recent months, this will translate into a fast growth of pork exports outside the EU. Recently, several Polish companies have secured permission to export their products to China, and more companies want to follow suit.

Polish meat goes mostly to top-class Chinese restaurants and hotels, where the quality of the food is the top priority. Industry experts say the demand for food in China will rise by 25 percent by 2022, and food imports are expected to grow at a rate of 10 percent each year. This means that the meat market in that country of over 1.3 billion consumers is still unsaturated, experts say, and Polish meat will readily find buyers there.

Polish beef exporters have been less successful in selling their merchandise abroad than poultry and pork producers. Last year, Polish beef exports totaled 330,000 tons, slightly less than a year earlier. Around 80 percent of beef produced in Poland is exported, mainly to various EU countries.

Worse conditions for beef exporters and a drop in domestic output led to a decrease in Polish beef exports last year. The decline was in part because the authorities stopped subsidizing meat exports to non-EU markets, combined with the withdrawal of tariff preferences for EU exporters by Turkey in the second half of 2011. Duty on beef imported to Turkey increased, harming beef exports to that country.

Currently, more than 60 percent of fresh refrigerated beef from Poland goes to three markets: Italy, Germany and the Netherlands-25 percent, 21 percent, and 17 percent respectively. The market for frozen beef is more diversified, with the dominance of Uzbekistan, the Netherlands and France this year.

The expected decline in beef production across the EU in 2013 and high beef prices on international markets (as a result of growing demand for this type of meat from countries such as the United States, Canada, Russia, countries in the Middle East as well as Indonesia and other Asian nations) are likely to cause the prices of cattle in the EU, including Poland, to remain at a high level. Beef is expected to be expensive, which may affect domestic consumption, which is already low, at 2.1 kg per capita per year. 

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