Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) continues to put downward pressure on domestic production volumes. From November of 2020 to February 2021, almost one million broilers have been culled as avian flu consequence. This accounted for 0.7 % of the total population.
Moreover, the effects on layer production have led to slaughter nine million layers, which represent 5% of the population.
“Layers typically account for around 10 % of Japan’s chicken slaughter; this could put additional downward pressure on chicken supply in 2021”.
Chicken consumption is projected nearly flat from 2020. Strong household demand is expected to continue, but imports could replace domestic chicken on retail shelves due to rising domestic prices.
The forecast indicated high boneless leg prices during this year, while breast price is projected to grow during the first semester. Consequently, those increases in prices are making that more importation will need.
“FAS/Tokyo revises projected 2021 chicken imports to 1,010 million MT up a half percent from 2020, but lower than FAS/Tokyo’s previous projection. Weak foodservice demand during the pandemic pushed Japan’s chicken imports sharply downward, falling seven percent. In particular, prepared chicken imports from Thailand and China, the two main suppliers, fell on reduced demand from izakaya pubs and other restaurants operating on shorter business hours”.
As pandemic concerns begin to ease, food service demand should begin to tick up again in the second half of 2021. In addition, the higher price of domestic chicken is likely to incentivize processors to use more imported inputs, reversing a trend from several years ago when processors preferred low-priced, underutilized domestic breast meat”.
Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture
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