Argentina’s poultry meat production has increased to meet domestic demand and continues to grow during the recession (2018-2020) in response to rising beef prices. Chicken production in 2022 is forecast to be 2.3 million tons (mmt), slightly above the 2021 estimate of 2,290 mmt (up 3.3% from 2020).

The government announced $20 million in subsidized loans to the sector. These loans have interest rates of 22-24%, well below the 51.8% annual inflation rate officially estimated by the Central Bank of Argentina. Poultry producers who take out these loans are expected to use them to replace old pens with new upgraded poultry houses.

In Argentina, over 80% of poultry production is processed in 54 national factories. The remaining production will take place at 40 additional plants monitored by state authorities and restricted to domestic sales only.

Commercial chickens are slaughtered in 49-51 days with a carcass weight of 2.2-2.4 kg. About 950 million birds are killed each year. Existing slaughter capacity should allow for an increase in production of up to 2.45 million tons.

Chicken consumption in 2021 is estimated at 2.15 million tonnes, a 4% increase compared to 2020. Chicken prices are rising at a slower pace than beef as Argentina’s economy begins to recover from a nearly 10% contraction in 2020. Rising production and falling exports are keeping chicken prices low.

Argentina’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries estimates his per capita annual protein intake for Argentina in 2020 to be 50.2 kg of beef, 45.9 kg of poultry and 15.6 kg of pork, whole broilers accounts for 70% of domestic broiler meat consumption.

Value-added processed products (prepared meals, frozen chicken meals, chicken nuggets, chicken burgers, etc.) represent growth opportunities.

Argentina’s poultry industry has higher costs than some of its competitors, but export taxes on feed ingredients give the industry an edge. Soybean exports are taxed at 33% and soybean meal at 31%, corn, wheat and barley are taxed at 12% and may be increased to 15%. Chicken is subject to an export tax of 9%.

Argentina’s poultry imports for 2022 are forecast at 10,000 tonnes, in line with projected levels for 2021. Since 2001, imports have accounted for less than 1% of Argentina’s total poultry meat supply.

Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay poultry (fresh, chilled or frozen poultry, fillets, offal) and cooked poultry products (preserved, seasoned, cooked products) are imported duty-free into Argentina as members of the Mercosur Agreement.

Other exporters have to deal with external Mercosur expected tariffs of 10% or 16%. Brazil continues to dominate Argentina’s small import market, and Uruguay ships only a small amount.

In 2022, Argentina’s poultry exports are expected to increase by 20% to 180,000 tonnes. Poultry producers look forward to opportunities to export a higher proportion of their produce due to improved international shipping logistics, especially the increased availability of refrigerated shipping containers.

Argentina’s poultry industry is primarily focused on the domestic market and is much less dependent on exports than many of the country’s other agricultural sectors. Average exports over the past three years have been 65% for chicken parts and 35% for whole chickens, and chicken exports in 2021 are expected to fall by 5% compared to 2020 to 150,000 tons.

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