Poultry exports to the Middle East fell 10%

New criteria for halal slaughtering is one of the main reasons. Saudi Arabia’s and Kuwait’s imports slid 28% and 11%, respectively. The United Arab Emirates increased purchases in 7%.

Bruna Garcia Fonseca

São Paulo – Poultry exports to Middle East countries dropped 10% from January to July in comparison to last year’s first seven months. In a press conference this Thursday (23) morning, the Brazilian Animal Protein Association (ABPA) reported that one of the main reasons for exports to go down in the period was the establishing of new criteria for halal slaughtering.

Saudi Arabia’s poultry imports fell 28%. Kuwait’s declined 11%, with only the United Arab Emirates increasing imports with a 7% hike. Even with the fall, the three Arab countries remain among the ten major buyers of Brazilian poultry; Saudi Arabia’s still at the top with 268,000 tons, the UAE has the fifth place with 180,000 tons, and Kuwait comes in ninth with 64,000 tons.

According to Ricardo Santin (picture above, the second from left to right), ABPA’s CEO, the new halal criteria are being met and this resulted in an adaptation of market volumes, that is, output fell. Regardless, the new norms ensured the opportunity to increase sales to the UAE and Yemen and, according to the association’s president, Francisco Turra, the increase of exports to these two Arab countries, alongside sales to China and Mexico, mitigated the impact from the embargo imposed by the European Union.

Rui Vargas on the new halal criteria: we must align our understanding

Technical director Rui Saldanha Vargas remarked that the association is working to align understanding and interpretation on the issue of animal unconsciousness during the halal slaughtering. “In the halal method, an animal that dies naturally shouldn’t be consumed, but we’ve already proven scientifically that the stunning or unconsciousness don’t constitute death, the animal’s still alive, to only later be slaughtered and go through bleeding,” he explained.

Up until then, the stunning process was allowed to facilitate the slaughtering procedures. “Our job is to demonstrate to them that the animals don’t die, we only make them lose consciousness, so they don’t suffer,” he concluded.


Turra presented the forecasts for the year and reported that poultry output should fall 1% to 2%, reaching around 13 million tons. The fall is driven by a reduction in housing of broiler chickens, around 3% to 5%, which impact poultry supply. Earlier in the year, the forecast called for an output increase between 2% to 4%. The per capita consumption should also fall to 42 kilograms. In 2017, consumption reached 42.07 kilograms.

Exports should also drop between 2% to 3% in the year, against the 4.32 million tons shipped in 2017, reaching 4.25 million tons. “The reduction is owed to three main factors, the suspension of Brazilian poultry exporting plants by the European Union, the imposing of a mistaken antidumping duty by China and the establishing of new criteria for halal slaughtering,” said Turra. Besides, they also considered the impact of the truckers’ strike that took place in May of this year.

Francisco Turra, ABPA’s president

“With the setting of minimum truck freight prices and the increase in production costs, the logistic costs of the sectors rose, on average, 35%, even reaching 80% in some modes, such as feed transportation,” said Turra. This translates into an increase of around 15% to the end consumer.

January to July

For August, the forecast calls for poultry exports to surpass 400,000 tons. From January to July, poultry exports reached 2.3 million tons, down 8.2% over the 2.505 million tons in the same period of 2017. Revenues totaled USD 3.675 billion, down 12.4% in the same comparison.

Asia was the main destination and outperformed the Middle East with 790,000 tons and a 1.4% growth. The Middle East came in second with 752,100 tons, down 10%. Africa comes next in the third position with 323,400 tons, a 15.2% drop. And the European Union is fourth with 139,500 tons, a 29.2% fall.


According to ABPA’s forecast, Brazilian eggs output should grow 10% in the year, reaching 44.2 billion eggs. The forecast for per capita consumption is also positive with 212 eggs. In 2017, per capita consumption stood at 192 eggs.

From January to July, exports totaled 5,800 tons, a 59% hike over the same period of 2017. Revenues jumped 84% to USD 9.33 million. The UAE tops importing countries with 3,218 tons from January to July, a 45% increase over the previous year. Saudi Arabia comes in fifth place with 270 tons, up 150% in volume in comparison to the same period of 2017.

Translated by Sérgio Kakitani

Bruna Garcia/ANBA
Bruna Garcia/ANBA
Bruna Garcia/ANBA

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