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Research Highlights

Research Highlights
Building a market for U.S. chicken parts in Azerbaijan

Sampling US chicken parts after a seminar at the Muradi Restaurant in Baku

By Kentucky Soybean Board

The Kentucky Soybean Promotion Board (KSPB) and the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council (USAPEEC) have enjoyed a productive partnership since 2008 to increase U.S. poultry and egg exports to international markets. Last year 138 million soybean bushel equivalents were exported through U.S. poultry and eggs, of which 4.5 million bushels of soybean were exported directly from Kentucky.

As the largest user of U.S. soybean meal, the U.S. poultry and egg industry consumes more than 700 million bushels of soybean, equivalent to the entire annual soybean production of the states Illinois, Nebraska, and Kentucky combined. As a leading producer of U.S. poultry and eggs, Kentucky’s poultry industry uses about 32% of the state’s soybean crop or 21 mil­lion bushels of soybeans.

Thanks to KSPB, USAPEEC was able to re-establish market confidence in U.S. poultry in light of the avian influenza (AI) crisis in Azerbaijan. The Azeri market had dropped to the zero level following the ban on U.S. chicken imports due to AI and the activities helped to not only re-establish this growing mar­ket, but to expand the export and use of U.S. chicken parts. The AI epidemic, which reached its peak in 2006 (Jan. – Aug.), was still a threat to Azeris up until the promotion, and with KSPB’s support, U.S. chicken is back and growing on the market.

“Through a series of on-site educational seminars and workshops conducted in Baku in 2009”, says USAPEEC Middle East Director Simon Bakht, “many of the leading professionals from the hotel, restaurant, and institutional (HRI) sector as well as chefs, foodservice managers, and leading retailers learned about the benefits and usage of U.S. chicken.”

In fact, U.S. exports of chicken parts (leg-quarters, drum­sticks, wings, thighs) jumped to 5,700 metric tons (MT) during the first 5 months of 2010, worth $4.1 million, compared to 2,500 MT during the same period of 2009, worth $1.8 million.

While the growing retail and HRI sectors in Azerbaijan offer sizeable opportunities for the absorption of U.S. chicken and chicken parts, operators still lack knowledge of the availability and functionality of U.S. chicken parts.

“Continuous effort is needed to target the foodservice sector in Azerbaijan with the message of U.S. chicken availability,

Sampling US chicken parts after a seminar at the Muradi Res­taurant in Baku quality, safety, and its versatility in different applications”, says Bakht.

With KSPB laying the groundwork for the Azeri market, it is estimated that an export volume of over 30,000 MT can be achieved in the next three years with follow-up activities.

As more containers containing U.S. chicken enter Azerbaijan, there are more indirect exports of soybeans.

Due to the overwhelming success of the Azerbaijan project the KSPB decided to invest in an additional project with USAP­EEC.

KSPB Chairman Gerry Hayden and soybean farmer from Calhoun said, “As a board we are proud we can invest in proj­ects that benefit both international marketing and the animal agriculture industry.”

“Livestock and poulty consume over 98 percent of the na­tion’s soybean meal supply. With animal agriculture being our largest customer we must expand and develop the market opportunites,” continued Hayden.

The new project will work to develop value added poultry products in Mexico made up of U.S. poultry ingredients. The National Agriculture Statistics Service reccently released that poultry is the number one cash commodity in Kentucky.

Kentucky is ranked eigth in the nation in terms of broiler production and is a $900 million industry. More than 15 per­cent of the product being proudced is exported, meaning that $108.5 million per year is coming into Kentucky from interna­tional trade.

Chef Raphael Muradov gives a meat cutting and recipe demonstration at the OCCO Restaurant.

For more information on this and other projects contact Jen­nifer Geck, Manager of Allied Industry Relations for USAPEEC at jgeck@usapeec.org.

Chef Raphael Muradov gives a meat cutting and recipe demonstration at the OCCO Restaurant.

“Through a series of on-site educational seminars and workshops conducted in Baku in 2009, many of the leading professionals from the hotel, restaurant, and institutional (HRI) sector as well as chefs, foodservice managers, and leading retailers learned about the benefits and usage of U.S. chicken.”