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Email Content: Poultry Industry News, Comments and more by Simon M. Shane

Saudi Arabia Aims for Self-Sufficiency in Broiler Production


According to USDA-FAS GAIN Report SA2020-0013 released on September 10th, Saudi Arabia has achieved a goal of 60 percent self-sufficiency and intends to extend this figure to 80 percent within three years. Currently Brazil dominates the importat market for chicken into Saudi Arabia with a 72 percent share, followed by the UAE at nine percent and lesser quantities from the Ukraine, Russia, and Argentina.



From 2019 to 2020, broiler production increased by 16.3 percent to 930,000 metric tons.  A further increase will raise production to 950,000 metric tons.  In 2021, imports will amount to 625,000 or 40 percent of total consumption.  Given a population of 35 million per capita, demand for chicken meat amounts to 99 pounds. Consumption of broiler meat is cyclical in Saudi Arabia, increasing in winter months and during the Umrah and Hajj seasons, but declines during the month of Ramadan.


 At the retail level, domestic chicken sells at $1.93 per pound, approximately equivalent to imported chicken from either Brazil or France and is a third of the cost of lamb or beef.  It is noted that Brazilian whole frozen chicken was shipped at $1,675 per metric ton in August.


In 2020, the government of Saudi Arabia withdrew the subsidy on imported animal feed and imposed specific subsidies on broiler parent chicks, commercial level chicks, and broiler meat to encourage efficiency and production. Subsidies range from $0.04 per broiler chick to $0.09 per pound of broiler mea In addition to the direct production subsidies, the government offers interest-free loans and rebates on equipment. 


The noteworthy increase in domestic production of 16.3 percent from 2019 to 2020 is essentially due to expansion by the four major producers, although second-tier companies have participated.  Ten integrators control 95 percent of production. The Ministry of Environment, Water, and Agriculture has issued a number of operational and construction licenses for new poultry farms and for expansion projects.  During the past few years, biosecurity has been improved and the Ministry has assisted with veterinary services reflected in sharply declining mortality rates. 


Domestic broilers are harvested between 28 to 35 days and an average weight of three pounds with a feed conversion of 1.7.


During May 2018, Saudi Arabia imposed a ban on electrical stunning prior to slaughter.  This effectively disqualified the U.S. as an exporter to Saudi Arabia.  Generally, devout Saudis consider domestic chicken to be of a higher halal standard than chicken imported from Brazil or France.  Saudi Arabia also imposed a ban on animal by-products in feed requiring certification by the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service Animal Protein Free Verification Program for export to Saudia Arabia. 

Copyright © 2020 Simon M. Shane