Despite my research on emerging nations India, China, Ethiopia, and Brazil as part of Brighter Green’s Food Policy and Equity Program, it’s not often that I think about their trade connections. I usually view meat and dairy intensification as internal issues–first and foremost affecting local communities, cultures, and populations, and perhaps later branching out to involve multinational corporations based in agricultural powerhouses in the U.S. or Europe. That’s why a recent article proclaiming that “Africa Presents Business Opportunities for Indian Poultry” was more than a bit jarring.
Posted on TheMeatSite.com, a news service for the meat, dairy, and fish industries, the article exemplifies the growing connections between developing nations in terms of livestock-related trade. At first, I didn’t find what I learned to be very intuitive–as Africa’s population and subsequent demand for dairy and egg products increases, producers in nations like India are eager to capitalize on the new market opportunities. African commissioners eagerly welcomed Indian investors interested in supporting poultry hatcheries or feed technology in Ethiopia, Mozambique, and Zambia.
After checking some numbers, this entrepreneurial interest appears to have a legitimate basis. The last FAO estimation of egg consumption in Africa in 2007 estimated the per-capita consumption was extremely scant, at about one kilogram per person per year. However, a recent industry article backs the notion that these standards are quickly changing in Africa, as in other developing nations where demand for animal products is increasing. The average egg consumption in South Africa is far higher than in the rest of the African continent, at approximately 7.7 kilograms per person per year, but the South African Poultry Association (SAPA) still acknowledges significant room for growth in per-capita egg consumption. Since egg-consumption is correlated with income growth, poultry demand should correlate with Africa’s increases in population and wealth.
These upward trends are all set to continue because of the relationship between population growth and demand for eggs, dairy, and meat. Meat and dairy trade connections will no longer be one-sided, just pairing small countries with more established western corporations. In the face of urbanization and industrialization with population growth, connections amongst agribusinesses in rising nations themselves, like India and Africa, are expected to continue forming.
For more information, take a look at “The Growing Demand for Livestock”, detailing how the expansion of international trade in livestock may affect domestic communities and markets or Brighter Green’s policy briefs.
Photo courtesy of Erik Cleaves Kristensen/Flickr