USA, Washington, D.C. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) poultry sector continues to grow modestly. Total UAE 2015 domestic poultry meat production is expected to reach 45,000 metric ton, an increase of 5% over the previous year.
Production in 2016 is expected to reach 46,000 MT. Almost 95% of poultry production is of whole chicken which is sold chilled. During the summer months when sales usually drop, nearly 5% of the production is sold frozen. Local production covers about 15% of the UAE’s total market demand. The remaining 85% is imported.
The small quail farm produces an estimated 300,000 birds per month. The poultry production sector in the UAE continues to face serious challenges with diseases being the greatest problem. As a result, mortality is reported to be as high as 25% on some farms, but in general it is estimated at about 12%. Diseases will continue to pose big threats to producers.
All locally produced chicken are Halal slaughtered. Hand slaughtering is the most common slaughtering practice. Stunning is not allowed in poultry according to UAE law. As a result, the movement of the birds during slaughtering complicates the slaughtering process, with producers ending up having a large number of birds with broken wings, legs and other damages which has resulted in the downgrading of 15% of the production. The Steam Scalding Method has been introduced in the UAE and is reported to have helped greatly in reducing cross contamination and bacterial count, compared to the old method of using boiling water.
Biosecurity remains a delicate issue for poultry production farms in UAE. Also, high feed prices pose an added challenge to local poultry producers which forces some of the smaller producers to close down their operations. In the absence of subsidies from the federal government, poultry producers face fierce competition from their counterparts in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi which provides 25% subsidy to its poultry farmers for Select feed purchases. The movement of Abu Dhabi produced feed to other UAE emirates is not permitted and considered illegal.
Locally produced chicken are generally consumed by UAE nationals who represent 15% of the population, consumers with high disposable income and Muslims who prefer to consume products with guaranteed Halal slaughter. Locally produced chicken is subject to strict supervision and inspection by the UAE government, to ensure that they receive highest food safety treatment and that they are fit for human consumption. The UAE does not have a market for paws which are usually rendered, dried and used as manure. Generally, household consumers prefer whole birds of small size weighing 800 to 1100 grams.
The UAE became among the world’s top 10 tourism destinations and the most popular in the Arab World according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). During 2013, Dubai alone attracted 10 mill. tourists, according to the Dubai Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), with a hotel occupancy rate of 85% in Dubai. HRI sector is set to increase further in coming years. With Dubai winning the bid for World Expo 2020, an ambitious development plan will be released in 2015. This is expected to attract major investors and developers which should lead to an increase in the working force of all levels. This is expected to reflect positively on imports of all types of food products, including poultry.
The UAE economy continues to show consistent growth.Abu Dhabi, where contribution of crude oil to the economy is significant, is expecting a 7% average growth rate in its economy through 2015. Dubai on the other hand, with its depleting oil reserves will continue to depend on non-oil sectors to generate income. Ongoing developments in infrastructure projects, recovery in the construction sector, and growth in the tourism sector and the steady increase in population are contributing factors to this growth.
Brazil is the leading supplier of poultry to the UAE, with 68% of market share, followed by the United States, and France. The majority of re-exported poultry products are destined to Oman, Kuwait and Qatar.
After the detection of HPAI in several U.S. states, the UAE banned imports of poultry from the infected states. After negotiations with Government of the UAE, the USDA was able to minimize the UAE to the U.S. infected counties. This will negatively impact U.S. poultry exports to the UAE by about 10%.