Total meat production

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What you should know about this indicator

Item: Meat, total Description: FAO defines meat as the flesh of animals used for food. In production data, meat is normally reported inclusive of bone and exclusive of meat that is unfit for human consumption. As reported by individual countries, meat production data may refer either to commercial production (meat entering marketing channels), inspected production (from animals slaughtered under sanitary inspection), or total production (the total of the above- mentioned categories plus slaughter for personal consumption). All FAO annual production data refer to total production.Country statistics on meat production adhere to one or more of the following concepts: 1. Live weight: the weight of the animal immediately before slaughter. 2. Killed weight: the live weight less the uncollected blood lost during slaughter. 3. Dressed carcass weight: weight minus all parts - edible and inedible - that are removed in dressing the carcass. The concept varies widely from country to country and according to the various species of livestock. Edible parts generally include edible offals (head or head meat, tongue, brains, heart, liver, spleen, stomach or tripes and, in a few countries, other parts such as feet, throat and lungs. Slaughter fats (the unrendered fats that fall in the course of dressing the carcasses) are recorded as either edible or inedible according to country practice. Inedible parts generally include hides and skins (except in the case of pigs), as well as hoofs and stomach contents.Meat production data for minor animals (poultry, rabbits, etc.) are reported in one of the following three ways: ready-to-cook weight (giblets are sometimes included and sometimes excluded); eviscerated weight (including the feet and head); or dressed weight, i.e. the live weight less the blood, feathers and skin.FAO data relate to dressed carcass weight for livestock and, wherever possible, ready-to- cook weight for poultry.Among individual countries, one of the following three concepts issued to measure production:A. Production from all animals, of both indigenous and foreign origin, that are slaughtered within national boundaries. B. Production from the slaughter of indigenous animals plus exports of live indigenous animals during the reference period. Derived from meat production as follows: production from slaughtered animals plus the meat equivalent of all animals exported alive, minus the meat equivalent of all animals imported alive. As imports/exports of live animals are recorded by FAO in numbers, not weight, animal type and size are of significance. C. The biological production concept covers indigenous animals that are either slaughtered or exported live, plus net additions to the stock during the reference period. Derived from indigenous productions follows: indigenous production plus (or minus) the meat equivalent of the change in the stock numbers during the reference period. Production is expressed in terms of live weight. Changes in the total live weight of all animals are not taken into account.FAO uses the first concept of meat production in the construction of its food balance sheets and for related indicators. The second concept, indigenous meat production, in measuring the output of the national livestock sector, is useful mainly in the construction of index numbers of agricultural production. The third concept, biological production, would be the most complete as it also reflects changes in the livestock herd, but it is not used because of difficulties in obtaining information from national reporting offices. The prices applied to indigenous meat production are derived from prices of live animals. This covers not only the value of meat, but also the value of offals, fats, hides and skins.

Metric: Production Description: Amount produced in the year

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (2023) – with major processing by Our World in Data
Last updated
March 14, 2024
Next expected update
March 2025
Date range

Sources and processing

This data is based on the following sources

Crop and livestock statistics are recorded for 278 products, covering the following categories:

  1. Crops primary: Cereals, Citrus Fruit, Fibre Crops, Fruit, Oil Crops, Oil Crops and Cakes in Oil Equivalent, Pulses, Roots and Tubers, Sugar Crops, Treenuts and Vegetables. Data are expressed in terms of area harvested, production quantity and yield. Area and production data on cereals relate to crops harvested for dry grain only. Cereal crops harvested for hay or harvested green for food, feed or silage or used for grazing are therefore excluded.

  2. Crops processed: Beer of barley; Cotton lint; Cottonseed; Margarine, short; Molasses; Oil, coconut (copra); Oil, cottonseed; Oil, groundnut; Oil, linseed; Oil, maize; Oil, olive, virgin; Oil, palm; Oil, palm kernel; Oil, rapeseed; Oil, safflower; Oil, sesame; Oil, soybean; Oil, sunflower; Palm kernels; Sugar Raw Centrifugal; Wine.

  3. Live animals: Animals live n.e.s.; Asses; Beehives; Buffaloes; Camelids, other; Camels; Cattle; Chickens; Ducks; Geese and guinea fowls; Goats; Horses; Mules; Pigeons, other birds; Pigs; Rabbits and hares; Rodents, other; Sheep; Turkeys.

  4. Livestock primary: Beeswax; Eggs (various types); Hides buffalo, fresh; Hides, cattle, fresh; Honey, natural; Meat (ass, bird nes, buffalo, camel, cattle, chicken, duck, game, goat, goose and guinea fowl, horse, mule, Meat nes, meat other camelids, Meat other rodents, pig, rabbit, sheep, turkey); Milk (buffalo, camel, cow, goat, sheep); Offals, nes; Silk-worm cocoons, reelable; Skins (goat, sheep); Snails, not sea; Wool, greasy.

  5. Livestock processed: Butter (of milk from sheep, goat, buffalo, cow); Cheese (of milk from goat, buffalo, sheep, cow milk); Cheese of skimmed cow milk; Cream fresh; Ghee (cow and buffalo milk); Lard; Milk (dry buttermilk, skimmed condensed, skimmed cow, skimmed dried, skimmed evaporated, whole condensed, whole dried, whole evaporated); Silk raw; Tallow; Whey (condensed and dry); Yoghurt.

Retrieved on
March 14, 2024
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Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations - Production: Crops and livestock products (2023).

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“Data Page: Total meat production”, part of the following publication: Hannah Ritchie, Pablo Rosado and Max Roser (2023) - “Agricultural Production”. Data adapted from Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Retrieved from [online resource]
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Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (2023) – with major processing by Our World in Data. “Total meat production – FAO” [dataset]. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, “Production: Crops and livestock products” [original data]. Retrieved July 24, 2024 from