The top 5 importing countries accounted for 49% of chicken export volume in 2018
Given that much of the soy exported from Brazil will end up as chicken feed in other countries, it is worth noting that the Brazilian industry is very efficient at turning feed crops into meat protein: at a feed conversion ratio of about 1.7 kg of feed/kg of weight gain compared to a global average of about 2, and with feed produced in-country and generally close to production and export centres. In addition, exporting meat rather than feed crops adds more value for the Brazilian economy, as well as potentially reducing transport emissions throughout the product life cycle.
Nevertheless, there are important sustainability concerns connected with Brazilian chicken, including water pollution that impacts biodiversity and water quality. High concentrations of arsenic, copper, selenium and zinc in water can affect human and animal health. Waste and run-off from chicken farms also contains traces of antibiotics and hormones, as well as nitrates and pathogens that can contaminate drinking water. Brazilian production for exports is also extremely industrialized, with poor conditions in terms of animal welfare (space, mobility). These impacts can all be substantially mitigated with the adoption of more sustainable production and processing systems.
More information on data sources and methods.