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U.S. is leading poultry exporter to sub-Saharan AfricaU.S. is leading poultry exporter to sub-Saharan Africa

U.S. poultry shipments to region grew by 62% from 2010 to 2014.

Krissa Welshans 1

March 25, 2016

2 Min Read
U.S. is leading poultry exporter to sub-Saharan Africa

From 2004 to 2012, the U.S. rose from being the world’s third-leading poultry meat exporter — behind the European Union and Brazil — to the top position, which it continues to hold. During the same period, sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) became an increasingly important market for U.S. poultry, according to agricultural economist Fawzi Taha with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service.

In 2004, Taha said the U.S. exported nearly 89,800 metric tons of poultry to SSA; by 2014, the amount had grown to 455,000 mt. The EU and Brazil, the next highest poultry exporters to SSA in 2014, shipped 399,000 mt and 258,000 mt, respectively.


Taha attributed the surge in U.S. poultry exports to SSA to the region’s growing per capita income, urbanization, population growth and shortages in domestic production, which bolster demand for poultry (broilers, chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese and guinea fowls). SSA accounted for 13% of U.S. poultry exports in 2014, making it the second-largest destination for U.S. poultry after Mexico (24%).

SSA — the region between North Africa (Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia) and the Republic of South Africa (RSA) — accounted for nearly all U.S. poultry sales to Africa in 2014: $523.6 million for SSA, compared with $557.2 million for all of Africa. Taha pointed out that the North African markets are mainly supplied by Brazil because North African consumers prefer whole birds. U.S. exports largely comprise frozen leg quarter chicken cuts or dark meat since U.S. consumers generally prefer white meat or breast cuts.

At the southern end of the African continent, poultry exports to the RSA are dominated by the EU. Taha noted that the U.S. had been the largest poultry supplier, but exports declined substantially following RSA's imposition of antidumping tariffs on U.S. products in 2000, which decreased U.S. exports from 25,027 tons in 1999 to 2,688 tons in 2001. Although U.S. poultry exports to RSA regained strength over time, the 2012 tariff hike pushed U.S. exports down from 31,705 tons in 2011 to 16,541 tons in 2014.

“Constraints in the northern and southern African markets steered U.S. poultry exports to the continent more to sub-Saharan African markets,” Taha said. This resulted in a growth rate of 62% for U.S. shipments to SSA during 2010-14 — much higher than that for exports from the EU (42%) and Brazil (20%).

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