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Meat & Meat Products

Meat is the most valuable livestock product. Meat is composed of protein and amino acids, minerals, fats and fatty acids, vitamins and other bioactive components, and small quantities of carbohydrates. From the nutritional point of view, meat’s importance is derived from its high quality protein, containing all essential amino acids and it’s highly bioavailable minerals and vitamins.


While meat consumption has been relatively static in the developed world, annual per capita consumption of meat has doubled since 1980 in developing countries. Growing population and incomes, along with changing food preferences are increasing the demand for livestock products.


World meat production is projected to double by 2050, most of which is expected in developing countries. The growing meat market provides a significant opportunity for livestock farmers and meat processors in these countries. Nevertheless, increasing livestock production and the safe processing and marketing of hygienic meat and meat products represents a big challenge.


The FAO programme in meat and meat products aims to assist the member countries in exploiting the opportunities for livestock development and poverty alleviation through the promotion of safe, efficient and sustainable production, processing and marketing of meat and meat products. The focus is on enhancing skills and capacity building in the smallholder sector through improving and upgrading small-scale meat production and processing techniques. FAO also assists with organising marketing and meat value chain improvement through a combination of headquarters-based and field activities and collaboration with selected national, regional and international partners.


The main emphasis is on adding value, improving safety, minimising waste and providing policy and technical advice and assistance. The approach is to develop and disseminate manufacturing guidelines and practices for improved productivity and safer, value added products and processing facilities. FAO is also involved, through the Codex Alimentarius, in the development meat and meat products standards and codes of practice.