ROME – Poultry meat production is forecast to increase by 1.8 percent from the 2011 estimate to 103.5 million metric tons, according to the biannual Food Outlook released by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. Poultry meat trade is anticipated to advance by 31 percent to 31 million tons.

Asia will be the main growth driver in global poultry production, FAO said, especially in China, India, Japan, South Korea and Turkey. However, high feed prices, the resurgence of avian influenza in Asia and ongoing trade disputes threaten to limit production growth in 2012. Avian influenza outbreaks have escalated in Bhutan, Nepal, India and Bangladesh. Global response to the outbreaks has been biosecurity trade bans, according to FAO.

Production outputs in Brazil and Russia are expected to climb by 3 percent and 6 percent, respectively, totaling 3 million tons for Russia and 12 million tons for Brazil, according to FAO. High feed and import prices are impeding poultry production in African countries except for South Africa, where import tariffs will help domestic output.

Global trade will expand with more deliveries to Vietnam, Hong Kong, Indonesia, United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia, FAO said. Increasing domestic demand is expected to fuel imports to Egypt, Angola, Benin and Ghana.