The medium-term outlook for EU agriculture depicts a mixed picture with regard to commodity market developments. The outlook for EU agricultural markets remains subject to a number of uncertainties regarding future market developments as well as the macroeconomic and policy settings.
Total meat production is expected to recover over the near term from the decline suffered in the wake of the economic crisis, but longer term growth prospects remain modest at an annual rate of 0.3% on average. Aggregate meat production would reach 44.4 mio t in 2020, exceeding the 2009 level by 4%. The situation differs between ruminant and non-ruminants, as beef/veal and sheep/goat meat production would drop by 7% and 11% respectively while pig and poultry meat production would expand by 7% each. The potential growth in non-ruminant meat production would remain constrained by the expected increase in production costs.
The driving factor for production growth would be the increasing poultry and pig meat consumption. On a per capita basis, overall EU meat consumption would reach 85.4 kg in 2020, 2% higher than 2009. Poultry meat consumption would increase most, above 6% and pig meat growth would remain below 5% on aggregate between 2009 and 2020. Pig meat would remain the most preferred meat in the EU at 43.3 kg/capita in 2020, compared to 24.7 kg for poultry, 15.4 kg for beef and veal and less than 2 kg for sheep and goat meat. The net trade position of the EU is projected to deteriorate over the outlook driven by a steady increase in meat imports (of beef and poultry meats) and a parallel decline in meat exports (of beef, pig and poultry meats). Aggregate meat imports would grow by 14% altogether, while meat exports would decline by almost 23% by 2020, leaving the EU with net exports of around 200 thousand t, with pig meat as the single commodity with a positive net trade balance.