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Largest meat producing countries


China is the largest meat producer at 76.4 million tonnes in 2016 with pork, chicken and beef being produced in bulk. It is also poised as the largest consumer  at 65.6 million tonnes the same year. The country accrued Sh100.3 billion in meat imports in 2016 which is nine per cent of the global meat import worth Sh113 trillion. Demand for meat in China continues to rise both in quantity and quality.

2. USA

The country produced 11.5 million tonnes of beef and veal (net carcass weight) in 2016. In 2017, the US imported and exported about 2.8 billion pounds of beef and veal. Beef remains the cash cow of the fresh meat retail department, with sales of Sh1.9 million per store per week. Fresh ground beef is one of the most popular cut types among consumers and had the highest category share with 42.1 per cent in 2017.


The scale of beef production in Brazil is massive and currently the chilled, fresh and frozen sales account for 88 per cent of the country’s exports. Brazilian beef production amounts to an annual 9.56 million carcass weight and beef exports on average amount to 1.88 million tonnes. It has been estimated that 96 per cent of all Brazil’s beef output is grass-based.


Livestock sector is one of the most important components of agriculture in India. Meat production is estimated at 4.9 million tonnes, standing eighth in rank in the world’s meat production. Buffalo in India contributes about 30 per cent of total meat production. The contribution by cattle, sheep, goats and poultry is 30, five, 10 10.2 and 11.5 per cent respectively. In spite of big potential because of large livestock population, the meat industry in India has not taken its due share.


Russia has continuously raised its production of beef by 1.1 per cent according to recent estimates from the Russian State Statistical Service (Rostat). During the period of January to May last year, Russia manufactured a total of 5.42 million tonnes of meat and poultry production went up 3.1 per cent compared to the same period in 2016 according to Rostat report. The pork sub-sector rose by five per cent last year to 4.57 million tonnes while at the close of this year, it is estimated that it would grow to 3.4 per cent translating to 4.73 million tonnes.


Production of beef continues to move up in France, which, in turn, is reducing import demand and impacting on prices in some supplying countries. France is also a major producer of male beef and veal, production of which is generally edging down. Total beef and veal imports, the majority of which consist of cow beef plus some veal, are forecast at 300,000 tonnes this year, a decline for the fourth year in succession.


The US is the biggest market for Mexican beef exports, accounting for 89 per cent of total exports in 2017.  Mexico is attempting to regain access to Russia and to expand beef exports to China. Mexico was the third largest source of US beef imports in 2017, accounting for 19.2 per cent of imports behind Australia (23.2 per cent) and Canada (24.7 per cent) and just ahead of New Zealand (18.6 per cent).


In 2017, the beef and veal retail sales in Japan amounted to approximately 238,000 tonnes and were forecasted to decrease to 202,000 tonnes in 2021. The Asian country is a huge exporter of its product and also a huge consumer. The biggest numbers is from beef and poultry which has seen neighbouring countries like Thailand and Philippines become serious importers.


A production quantity of more than 5.5 million tonnes in 2017 puts Germany top of the list of pork producers in the EU. In 2017, Germany had 143,600 cattle farms with just about 12 million animals, making Germany the second largest producer in Europe, with more than 40 breeds. Cattle and beef production in Germany is a professional business. The country has very high standards covering the whole supply chain.


Livestock constitute approximately 25 per cent of the value of all agricultural production and contributes to the economic development of rural households in Turkey. About 70 per cent of the rural farms own livestock. Most of these farmers rely on their livestock for income by selling milk and meat as well as fertiliser for crops. Although livestock productivity has been increasing in the last two decades, the number of large and small ruminants has decreased.