DLF (2014) estimated that in 2013 beef product consumption in Laos accounted for almost 24,000 tons while buffalo meat products accounted for about 18,000 tons. Fish, pork and poultry products had the highest figures accounting for about 104,000 tons, 63,000 tons and 47,000 tons respectively.
Table 6 shows beef consumption in the some provinces and the whole country in 2013. DLF estimated that about 15% of the total cattle herd was slaughtered annually. The average weight of slaughtered cattle was 170 kg, and 54% of the cattle weight was carcass. Overall, in 2003 beef consumption in Laos was estimated at almost 24,000 tons with consumption per capita of 3.5 kg.
Table 6: Beef consumption in 2013
With increases in urbanisation and household income, the commodity value chains become more complex as consumers increasingly demand for better quality in their meat products. Such market complexities translate into high transaction costs for smallholder producers. A number of concerns have also been raised about whether smallholder producers are able to compete and adjust effectively to the rapid changes in the market (FAO, 2009). In urban cities such as Vientiane and Luang Prabang Cities, while the average price of domestic beef product has increased more than double from 30,000 kip/kg in 2010 to 70,000 kip/kg in 2013 (Phonvisay, 2013), imports of a number of good quality beef products supplying to the high-end restaurants have increased over the last few years. In a long run, if the smallholder cattle industry in Laos particularly through the improvement of value chains and meat processing has not been systematically promoted, the cattle industry in Laos may be dominated by dominant corporate food companies controlling the value chains for agricultural inputs and a wide range of outputs, thereby holding a very large share of profits and passing costs and risks onto smallholders, as this happens in the poultry and pig industries in Southeast Asia (Delgado et al., 2008).
Although there has been an increasing trend in meat production in the country, meat products appear to be short of supply in both quality and quantity to domestic markets, given a continuous increase in income and population as well as urbanization. DLF estimated that prices of beef, pork and poultry significantly increased by 114%, 50% and 22% respectively from 2010 to 2013.