MEXICO- Pork and beef production in Mexico is likely to grow in 2024 due to expected lower prices for cattle and swine feed, says a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) report.

The report predicts that domestic beef production will be nearly 1% higher from 2023 to a record 2.24 million metric tons (MMT).

Less drought in central and northern Mexico during the current year and less elevated grain prices are expected to support herd development with impacts lasting through 2024.”

The report also predicts that the demand for beef will also expand slightly, based on population growth, and a growing appetite for beef products as consumer incomes steadily rise over time and food price inflation moderates. 

The country’s tourism economy also continues to experience robust growth which, in turn, generates additional consumer demand in the hotel, restaurant, and institutional (HRI) sectors,” noted the report authors.

The outlook predicts that the country’s volume of beef imports for 2024 will be virtually unchanged from 2023, at 175,000 MT, while exports are forecast 1% higher from 2023 to 415,000 MT.

Albeit a small portion of total supply, Mexico’s share of global beef exports continues to gradually increase. Between 2015 and 2022, Mexico has nearly doubled its amount of beef exports. The country’s main export markets are the US, Japan, Canada, and South Korea.

According to the report, Mexico aims to diversify its meat exports to meet the demand for halal meat in North Africa, the Middle East, and Asia through cooperation among the Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development (SADER) and halal certification bodies. 

The USDA report predicts that Mexican cattle production will reach 8.7 million head, a 2% increase over the previous year, continuing a trend of steady growth over the past decade.

Potential increased US demand for feeder cattle from a shrinking 2024 US herd is forecast to boost live exports.”

Pork exports rise

The USDA report provides that pork exports are forecast 2% higher in 2024 to 250,000 MT.

The US, Japan, South Korea, and Canada are forecast to remain the most stable destinations for Mexican pork. With those countries’ pork imports relatively stable, Mexican pork exporters may look to increase their share in other export markets in Asia such as Singapore, Philippines, and Vietnam, and countries in Latin America such as Guatemala and El Salvador.”

The authors expect that solid domestic demand for pork and pork products will support increased production from domestic pork processing to offset relatively less growth in pork export demand due to global factors such as excess supply.

According to the country’s animal feed industry representatives, the domestic swine sector will likely use more than 6.6m MT of feed in 2023, 2% more than in 2022.

Additionally, the USDA report sees some respite for producers in Mexico who are experiencing a decline in live hog prices due to lower corn prices. 

However, Mexico’s pig and feed producers say they face market uncertainty due to Mexico’s corn trade policy, following the presidential decree pledging the gradual substitution of genetically modified corn for animal feed and human food.

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