Canadian consumers are likely to consume more chicken this year than previously expected, according to a USDA Foreign Agricultural Service Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN). Stepped-up Canadian production may fill most of this increase.

FAS’ new estimate for Canada’s 2014 broiler meat production is 1,080,000 metric tons, or 10,000 tons above the previous USDA official estimate. Under the supply management system, chicken farmers are able to adjust production levels in a relatively timely manner in order to respond to market demand, the report said. Given the likelihood of a tight supply of beef and pork during the current year, FAS believes poultry producers will take advantage of the market situation and boost chicken production volumes to meet an anticipated gap in the protein market.

Domestic consumption of chicken meat has a chance to see “a more meaningful increase in 2014,” the report noted. After being stagnant at around 30 kilograms per person for the past three years, per capita consumption of broiler meat is now estimated to approach 31 kilograms per person in 2014, similar to the levels reported in 2009 and years prior. Nonetheless, the Canadian market remains a mature one, and possibilities of growth are “only marginal,” FAS said.

Imports of broiler meat are now estimated at 150,000 tons for 2014, or 5,000 tons above the official USDA estimate. Exports of broiler meat have also been reassessed higher for 2014, with the new estimate now at 160,000 tons, or 5,000 tons above the official USDA estimate. Both these estimates are reflections of the major drivers behind Canadian trade in chicken meat–under the supply management system, broiler meat imports are controlled and subject to a tariff rate quota (TRQ), which is a function of the production level; in parallel, increased activity under programs that provide a customs duty exemption (imports for re-export) drive up both the chicken imports and the exports volumes.

The year 2013 marked not only an increase in the overall volume of imports under customs duty exemption programs, but also a shift from the traditional program administered by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD), the Imports to Re-Export Program (IREP), towards the competing program administered by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), namely the Duties Relief Program (DRP). FAS currently estimates that over two-thirds of Canada’s imports for re-export will be part of CBSA’s program in 2014.

Information about the chicken TRQ, other supplementary imports, and the process of importing broiler meat into Canada is avaible at the following link. Details about the Duties Relief Program is available at the following link.