Total Saudi broiler meat production is expected to reach 760,000 MT in 2017, about 9 percent higher than USDA’s official estimate of 700,000 MT, according to a USDA Foreign Agricultural Service Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report.The report revised Saudi broiler meat production for 2016 to 755,000 MT from USDA’s official estimate of 670,000 MT based on the Saudi Ministry of Environment, Water and Agricultural (MEWA) officially published data. Domestic broiler meat production next year is expected to increase slightly to 765,000 MT.

The main reason for the large increase in domestic broiler meat production in 2016 was expansion projects carried out by the largest Saudi poultry producers – Al-Watania, Fakieh and Almarai poultry farms – and mid-sized producers. Production cost of locally produced broiler meat currently ranges between $1.6 and 1.87 per Kg of average dressed weight.

Saudi Arabia’s imports of broiler meat are estimated at 790,000 MT, a decline of approximately 11 percent in 2017, from 886,000 MT in 2016. The expected decline of poultry meat imports in 2017 is mostly due to departure of several hundred thousand expatriates from the Kingdom; increased Brazilian export prices in the second half of this year; and the increase in the local broiler meat production.Total broiler meat imports in 2018 are projected to drop by six percent to 740,000 MT. This is mainly due to the departure of a significant number of expat family members caused by the newly imposed levy on expat’s dependents.

Brazil has remained the dominant supplier of broiler meat to Saudi Arabia for over two decades. In 2016, Brazilian broiler meat exports to the Kingdom reached 746,286 MT, which accounted for 84 percent of total Saudi broiler meat imports, followed by France with 14 percent, and the U.S. – a distant third at 1 percent of the market.

The small U.S. share of the market is mostly due to difficulties the U.S. poultry exporters’ face in meeting the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) stringent poultry and poultry product import requirements. Saudi Arabia’s 2017 broiler meat exports are estimated at 40,000 MT, similar to USDA’s official estimate. Most Saudi broiler meat exports are shipped to nearby GCC countries. Saudi broiler meat exports for 2018 are forecast to remain at 40,000 MT. The government levies a $533 per MT export tax as reimbursement for the subsides received by local broiler meat producers from the Saudi government. The export tax makes Saudi broiler meat less completive compared to other suppliers.

Broiler meat consumption this year is estimated at 1.51 million metric tons, a decline of about 6 percent compared to the last year’s estimated consumption of 1.6 million metric tons and 4 percent higher than the official USDA estimate. The reduction in broiler meat consumption this year is due mainly to the departure of several thousand expats from Saudi Arabia.

Total Saudi broiler meat imports in 2017 are expected decline to by about 11 percent to 790,000 metric tons compared to 2016. In 2016, Brazil supplied 84 percent of Saudi Arabia’s broiler meat imports of 886,000 metric tons, followed by France with 14 percent. The U.S. is a distant third with one percent of the market.

Read the full report at Saudi Arabia: Poultry and Products Annual.