Gateway to poultry production and products


The poultry sector continues to grow and industrialize in many parts of the world. An increasing population, greater purchasing power and urbanization have been strong drivers of growth.

Advances in breeding have given rise to birds that meet specialized purposes and are increasingly productive, but that need expert management. The development and transfer of feed, slaughter and processing technologies have increased safety and efficiency, but favour large-scale units rather than small-scale producers. These developments have led the poultry industry and the associated feed industry to scale up rapidly, to concentrate themselves close to input sources or final markets, and to integrate vertically. One element of the structural change has been a move towards contract farming in the rearing phase of broiler production, allowing farmers with medium-sized flocks to gain access to advanced technology with a relatively low initial investment.

A clear division is developing between industrialized production systems of large and medium size feeding into integrated value chains, and extensive production systems supporting livelihoods and supplying local or niche markets. The primary role of the former is to supply cheap and safe food to populations distant from the source of supply, while the latter acts as a livelihood safety net, often as part of a diverse portfolio of income sources.

Traditional small-scale, rural, family-based poultry systems continue to play a crucial role in sustaining livelihoods in developing countries, supplying poultry products in rural areas, and providing important support to women farmers. Small-scale poultry production will continue to offer opportunities for income generation and quality animal-source foods so long as there is rural poverty.

Did you know?

  • The United States of America is the world’s largest poultry meat producer, with 17 percent of global output, followed by China and Brazil.
  • China is by far the world’s largest egg producer, with 38 percent of global production, followed by the United States (7 percent) and India (7 percent).
  • Asia is the largest egg-producing region, with more than 64 percent of global output.
  • To meet growing demand, world poultry meat production soared from 9 to 133 million tonnes between 1961 and 2020, and egg production shot up from 15 to 93 million tonnes.
  • In 2020, poultry meat represented almost 40 percent of global meat production.
  • In the last three decades, world egg production has increased by 150 percent. Much of this growth has been in Asia, where production increased almost fourfold.
  • Poultry is raised by approximately 80 percent of rural households in developing countries.