Thursday, 12 December 2019
By Rebecca Wright
The European Commission has published its latest outlook for the EU agriculture sector. The full report covers all major agricultural outputs.
Across the EU, spending on food as a share of household expenditure has been relatively static for the past decade. Food service however has been on an upwards trend over the past few years. When actually making purchases, convenience rates highly, with increasing retail sales of pizzas, ready meals and prepared salads. Meat consumption trends vary across the world, and on per capita terms can largely be split by the developed world and the developing world.
The outlook for the EU pork industry is somewhat more uncertain than for other proteins, as it is set against the backdrop of African Swine Fever in China. From 2021, the European Commission is expecting Chinese pig meat production to begin on the road to recovery. Should ASF be controlled, and if industry restructuring and rebuilding is successful, Chinese pig meat production might recover by 2025.
Growth in EU pig meat production is limited by environmental policy, and the presence of ASF in wild boar in eastern and central Europe. In the short term, EU production is expected to increase in reaction to strong global prices. On the subject of prices, the EU is expecting them to remain high for the first few years of the outlook period. However they will then decline sharply, following global prices, when Chinese production recovers (around 2025 according to the outlook).
The EU suckler herd is forecast to continue to contract slightly each year over the coming decade. As has happened in the past decade, a continued shift from production from the EU-15 to the EU-N13 is expected. The dairy herd is expected to contract, reflecting increases in milk yields reducing the need for dairy cows. Beef production is forecast to decline by 700,000 tonnes by 2030 compared to 2019.
Towards the end of the outlook period, the EC is forecasting for farmgate prices to rise. However this is against a background of feed price rises.
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