Bird flu, which killed thousands of chickens in Asian countries in 2005, caused Brazilian exports to decline. On the other hand, chicken prices fell on the domestic market, and Brazilians consumed more chicken.
This is the assessment made by Adriana Santos, an analyst with the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), on the basis of a study released by the institute yesterday, June 29.
The study shows that between January and March of this year slightly more than a billion chicken were slaughtered, a 12.21% increase in comparison with the same period last year. The total number of chicken slaughtered was, however, only 1.71% greater than in the final quarter of 2005.
In the first quarter of this year, beef exports and domestic consumption of beef also increased. The IBGE study indicates that around seven million head of cattle were slaughtered during this period, nearly 10% more than in the first quarter of 2005 and 3.25% more than in the final quarter of last year.
According to Santos, the cases of hoof and mouth disease that occurred in the Midwest region through the end of 2005 did not affect exports at the beginning of this year.
As for milk production, the study shows that there was a drop of 4.56% in the first quarter of this year in comparison with the fourth quarter of last year in consequence of low prices. "Domestic milk prices were very low, inducing dairy farmers to reduce their production," Santos explained.
Nevertheless, she said, domestic milk production was up 5% in comparison with the first quarter of 2005. "In general terms the cattle sector is expanding at the start of this year, maintaining the same pace as last year."
Egg production grew 5.47% in relation to the first quarter of 2005, 14.12% more hides were purchased, and 9.18% more hogs were slaughtered than in the first quarter of last year.