TUCKER, GA. – Demand for poultry and eggs are steadily ascending, according to the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council (USAPEEC), however the COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause logistical problems such as port closings and shipping bottlenecks around the world.

Despite the challenging conditions, the organization reported, that exports for chicken and eggs set records for the first half of 2021 and are on pace to break all-time marks by the end of year.

Broiler exports for the first six months totaled 1,856,027 tonnes, up 6.8% from the same period of last year, while export value reached $2.136 billion, an increase of 21.1%.

Total broiler export volume reached an all-time high for the six-month period, with Mexico, China, Cuba, and Philippines leading the way. Cuba, and Philippines set records for both the volume and value of US chicken imports, while Mexico and China set a record for the value of their imports. According to the USAPEEC those four markets make up 49.2% of total chicken exports.

“Despite all of the issues that our industry has had to face over the last year and more, the export side has come through in record-setting fashion,” said Jim Sumner, president of USAPEEC. “This is a testament to the capabilities and efforts of our industry, and it speaks to the needs and desires of consumers around the world for US poultry and eggs. Chicken is the world’s leading meat protein and eggs are a fundamental part of the diet of many people.”

USAPEEC shipments to Cuba rose 96.6% to 163,666 tonnes. The group said exports would have likely been greater but the country’s tourism industry has been hurt by the pandemic.

Broiler exports to China sat at 217,020 tonnes for the first six months which is a 5.9% increase. The data showed that 59.6% of the exports were chicken paws. The United States is the second-largest supplier of chicken to China, and the leading supplier of paws. The market began to receive US poultry exports again in 2020 after a five-year ban.

According to the US Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agriculture Service, exports of US turkey grew in both volume and value for the first six months of 2021.

Cumulative turkey exports for the first half of this year were 124,008 tonnes, up 3.3% from the same period a year earlier. Export value reached $259.1 million, up 5.1%. Mexico was the leading market. USAPEEC said turkey exports increased even though production was lower during the period.

All-time record numbers were also reported for US table eggs in volume and second highest ever in value. Table egg exports to South Korea were the highest ever in both volume and value in the first half, while shipments to Mexico and Hong Kong were the second highest. First-half shipments set an all-time high at 98.6 million dozen to those three countries.