The Poultry and Products Annual report said that broiler meat production was estimated to be 640,000 metric tonnes (mt) in 2014 - up 7% from 600,000mt last year, with a 9% increase expected in 2015. However the increasing cost of poultry feed, coupled with the high mortality rates seen in Saudi poultry farms, remain a barrier to expansion.
Domestic broiler production currently covers around 42% of Saudi Arabia’s consumption needs, at about 1.44 million mt, with imports expected to fall by 10% in 2014, partly due to the increased domestic production which has been attributed to ongoing expansion projects at three of the largest producers in Saudi Arabia: Al-Watania Poultry, Fakieh Farms, and Almarai Company. The self-sufficiency rate is expected to rise to 46% by 2015.
The report read: "The Saudi poultry sector has been undertaking major expansion projects that will impact the long term production potentials and affect its contribution to help achieve the Kingdom’s food security goals. Several years ago, Saudi government stated a strategic goal of achieving full self-sufficiency in poultry meat consumption."
However many analysts believe this is unfeasible, suggesting a more realistic goal is 60%. This "would require a huge expansion in Saudi Arabia’s poultry production capacity, high costs of subsidized poultry feed products, and the implementation of a unified biosecurity system to help reduce chicken broiler mortality rates".
According to the data in the report, Saudi’s commercial broiler production has increased every year since 2010, from 447,000mt in that year to the current year’s estimated figure of 640,000mt.
In 2013, Saudi Arabia was the world’s largest importer of broiler meat, taking a total of 875,259mt, however imports are forecast to be lower this year due to the increase in domestic production, as well as lower demand from the catering business, as a lower number of pilgrims visiting Saudi Arabia are expected this year.
Brazil supplied 79% of Saudi Arabia’s poultry last year, followed by France (18%), and the US (3%), according to the report. Consumption of poultry meat in Saudi Arabia is among the highest levels in the world, with per capita consumption estimated at 47kg per year.