However in its biannual report on Global Food Markets the FAO also suggested that, constrained by limited export supplies and subdued import demand, global trade would expand at 1.7%, to 31.2mt, in 2015 – a much slower rate than the 3.1% expansion registered last year.
The largest increases in production are expected to come from China, the EU, the USA and Brazil, with pigmeat leading the field in terms of growth. "Only modest gains in bovine and sheepmeat production are currently foreseen," said the report.
Pigmeat is forecast to grow 1.9% to 119.4mt, with poultry meat showing the second-highest growth rate at 1.4%, to 111.8mt. Ovine meat is predicted to grow by 0.8% to 14mt, and bovine meat by 0.2% to 67.9mt.
In terms of global trade expansion, however, bovine meat (1.9% to 9.8mt), pigmeat (1.6% to 7.1mt) and poultry (+2.6% to 13.1mt) are expected to see growth, with a decline forecast for sheepmeat (-8.5% to 940,000t).
The notable drop in sheepmeat trade is down to the decline in production seen in New Zealand and Australia, with flock rebuilding in progress. Meanwhile, the growth in global poultry trade has been affected by the recent outbreaks of avian influenza in the US.
Supply limitations have been given as the reason behind the slower growth in the trade of bovine meat, but the pigmeat sector looks set to shrug off two years of declines and achieve positive growth as production in the main exporting countries is expanding.
The FAO’s Meat Price Index has seen prices "well below 2014" in the first four months of this year, with all categories affected. It fell from 183 points in January to 178 points in April.
Per capita meat consumption is forecast to grow slightly at +0.1% to 43.4kg per year.