The ACP and the increasing importance of exports to Polish poultry sector growth

Sub-Saharan African markets are of growing importance to the Polish poultry sector. The granting of a health certificate for exports to South Africa will see this importance increase. While EU governments in ‘new’ member states commonly complain they gain little from the relationship with the ACP, the strong expansion of their agro-food exports to ACP countries belies this compliant. Without ACP markets, Polish poultry sector growth would be slower.

The Polish poultry meat sector is showing tremendous growth. Between 2012 and 2015 production increased 30.5%, with a further 17% increase in the first 8 months of 2016, compared to the same period in 2015. (1) Poland is now the EU’s leading poultry meat producer (13.9%) and alongside 3 other EU producers – France (12.9%) the UK (12.6%) and Germany (11.8%) – accounts for over half of total EU poultry meat production. (2)

In Poland exports are ‘the main force behind the development of the entire poultry meat industry’. In 2015 exports to all destinations accounting for 34% of the total Polish poultry meat production of 2.124 million tonnes. Since 2010 Polish poultry meat exports have more than doubled (+102%), while the first 7 months of 2016 saw a further 15.7% growth.  Overall it is estimated that in 2016 export sales will come to account for 42% of the revenue of the Polish poultry industry. (1)

While the bulk of these exports go to fellow EU member state markets, almost 25% are exported beyond the EU’s borders. Poland now accounts for 13.5% of extra-EU poultry meat exports from the EU28 countries, up from a mere 7.1% in 2012. (3) Analysis maintains ‘the dynamic development of Poland’s poultry meat exports Is supported by the implemented promotional programmes co-financed by the EU funds’. (1)

Over 1/3 of Polish extra-EU poultry meat exports go to sub-Saharan African markets. Indeed, in 2015 Poland was exporting poultry meat to no less than 23 ACP countries, with these markets taking 36% of total extra-EU Polish exports (64,899 tonnes, out of a total of 179,645 tonnes). This is equivalent to almost 1 in every 11 tonnes of total Polish poultry meat exports (EU and extra-EU). (3)

The main ACP destinations for Polish poultry meat exports are in West and Central Africa (see table). The top 8 African markets took 61,688 tonnes in 2015, some 95% of the total Polish poultry meat exports to ACP countries. Since 2010 Polish poultry meat exports to the top 8 ACP markets have more than tripled (+239%). (3)

Polish Poultry Meat Exports to Top 8 ACP Destinations – tonnes (0207)

2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 % increase 2010-2015
Benin 10,601 12,877 17,162 20,829 30,708 23,479 +121.5%
Congo 3,430 3,356 3,750 7,742 9,401 14,513 +323.1%
Liberia 357 844 1,251 3,631 6,058 8,804 +1,366%
Gabon 824 1,165 852 1,968 2,797 5,863 +611.5%
Ghana 1,657 870 768 1,277 1,615 2,848 +71.9%
Togo 642 1,130 1,516 2,065 3,521 2,498 +289.1%
Guinea 72 313 270 1,029 1,461 2,045 +2,740.3%
DRC 642 505 658 815 442 1,636 +154.8%
Sub-total 18,225 21,060 26,227 39,356 56,003 61,688 +238.5%
Total Ex-EU 88,829 84,488 91,143 110,314 144,937 179,645 +102%
%  total 20.5% 24.9% 28.8% 35.6% 38.6% 34.3%

Source: Extracted from EC, Market Access Data Base (Member States: Poland, Product Code: 0207, Select Years 2015-2010)

It is noteworthy that until June 2016 the South African market was closed to Polish poultry meat.  However in June the head of trade and investment at the Polish Embassy in Pretoria announced that following the issuing of the required health certificate Poland will be able to export poultry meat bone in, mechanically deboned meat and offal to the South African market. (4) It was reported that in the month of September 2016 the first containers of poultry meat from Poland arrived, accounting for 1% of total poultry meat imports for the month. In September 2016 some 24,313 tonnes of poultry meat were imported from EU member states, some 49.5% of total South African poultry meat imports for the month. (5)

(1), ‘Exports drive Poland’s expanded poultry meat production’, 14 November 2016
(2), ‘Poultry import ban amid avian influenza outbreak in Denmark’, 28 November 2016
(3) EC, Market Access Data Base (Member States: Poland, Product Code: 0207)
(4) Reuters, ‘Poland to export poultry to South Africa from June’ 23 June  2016
(5) SAPA, ‘South African poultry meat imports: Country report September 2016’

Comment and Analysis

West and Central African markets are of growing importance to Polish poultry meat exports and are thus making an important contribution to the continued expansion of the Polish poultry meat sector. The granting of a health certificate for Polish poultry meat exports to South Africa is likely to see a further expansion of Polish poultry meat exports to sub-Saharan Africa, once current Avian Influenza related restrictions are removed.

This growing trade belies complaints from ‘new’ EU member states governments in the context of the post-Cotonou discussions, that they gain little from their relationship with ACP countries.  This perception that new EU13 member states gain little from their trade relationship with ACP countries, has seen calls being made for the EC to more actively promote EU trade and economic interests through the pending revisions of EU-ACP cooperation framework.

This however ignores the underlying reality in the agro-food sector of rapidly growing exports from ‘new’ EU member states to ACP markets, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. These markets are likely to become increasingly significant (particularly given the continued closure of the Russian market).

Against this background ‘new’ EU member states governments should be cautioned against taking too hard a line in the pending negotiations least this damage the relationship between the EU and ACP countries which are providing an increasingly important market for agro-food exports from ‘new’ EU member states.


Key words:            Poultry, Poland, Post-CotonouEPAs, TRQs PCD, sensitive sectors
Area for Posting:  Poultry sector, General EPA, West Africa EPA, Central Africa EPA,                                Post-Cotonou Trade Aspects