Egypt’s rise in demand for beef to result in increase in production, importation

EGYPT – Egypt’s calf crop production for the market year 2021 is forecasted to be 1.94 million heads according to Food Agricultural Service Cairo as indicated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) in a Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report.

Total supply during the year under review is forecast at 9.99 million animals, increasing by 125,000 head or slightly over one percent above USDA’s official MY 2020 figure of 9.86 million.

Even with the projected production, input costs are high despite the government authorizing in 2018 an additional 400,000 hectares for yellow corn production, main constituent of feed.

To further lower the costs, the government aims to increase feed corn yields to 12 metric tons (MT) per hectare by 2030 as it seeks herd growth to increase domestic beef production, increase carcass weight, and help stabilize market prices.

FAS Cairo forecasts Egypt’s cattle total slaughter in MY 2021 at 1.79 million head, up by 1.5 percent or increasing by 25,000 animals compared to the USDA’s official MY 2020 estimate of 1.76 million head.

The increase in cows available for slaughter is also due to improvements in animal welfare advocating for better care is reducing Egypt’s animal loss rate.

Beef production in 2021 expected to reach 375,000 MT.

Food Agricultural Service Cairo

Although 200,000 animals will be lost due to disease in MY 2021, this amount is down 20 percent from MY 2020’s losses of 250,000 head.

In terms of trade FAS Cairo forecasts Egypt’s live cattle imports in MY 2021 at 200,000 head, 80,000 animals less, or 29 percent lower, than the USDA’s official MY 2020 figure of 280,000 head.

The drop in imports is attributed to Egypt suspending from November 2019 through March 2020 imports of Sudanese live cattle for immediate slaughter due to the outbreak of Rift Valley fever in Sudan.

In 2018, Egypt and Sudan signed an agreement to import 800,000 head of Sudanese live cattle for immediate slaughter over the course of three-years (i.e., 2018-2020).

The agreement set to expire in 2020, was hobbled by the October 2019 outbreak of RVF in Sudan and the ensuing Egyptian ban (November 2019) on Sudanese live cattle imports.

In March 2020, Egypt lifted but Sudan’s ongoing political crisis continues to disrupt live cattle shipments to Egypt.

There also has been a drop in live cattle imports from Brazil, as that country proceeds to slaughter and process more of its animals for beef for export to China.

China increased demand for foreign-origin animal protein following the spread of African swine fever in the Chinese mainland.

Other live cattle suppliers to Egypt include EU-28 member states Croatia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Slovenia, and Spain, in addition to South America’s Colombia and Uruguay.

For exports, Egypt is not an exporter of live cattle for slaughter, nor of dairy cattle, or of animals for breeding stock.

Beef production and consumption projected to rise

As Egypt’s herd number is forecasted to increase so is its beef production in 2021 expected to reach 375,000 MT, up two percent or 8,000 MT above the USDA’s official MY 2020 estimate of 367,000 metric tons.

Egyptian beef production is increasing to meet growing consumer demand, which is expanding as inflation stabilizes and the population grows.

FAS Cairo forecasts Egypt’s domestic beef consumption during the year to reach about 675,000 MT, up by 2.5 percent or 18,000 MT above the USDA’s official MY 2020 estimate of 657,000 metric tons.

To meet the growing demand the country will supplement production with importation of 300,000 MT, up over three percent, or 10,000 MT greater than the USDA’s official MY 2020 estimate of 290,000 metric tons.

However, following the Egyptian pound’s November 2016 devaluation, several private sector importers left the market.

Government ministries such as the Ministries of Supply and Internal Trade, Agriculture and Land Reclamation, and of Defense, have become Egypt’s largest importers of live cattle and frozen beef and varietal meats (i.e., livers, hearts, and kidneys).

These ministries today are the largest players in the live cattle and beef markets, driving down the cost of beef, and especially of imported beef.

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