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"In 1998 poultry production in Indonesia was drastically reduced after civil unrest and the departure of many Chinese who raised poultry.

"In 1998 poultry production in Indonesia was drastically reduced after civil unrest and the departure of many Chinese who raised poultry.

meat and egg prices because feed is the costliest item in poultry production. Worldwide grain trading, as well as poultry meat imports, has dramatically increased during recent times. Moreover, more countries are banning or reducing local grain production for animals in favor of crops for human consumption. This has made the poultry industry in many developing countries vulnerable to the instability of financial markets. A major financial crisis started in 1994 in Thailand and spread throughout the Pacific Rim. Later it reached Russia, some of its former states, and several South American countries. The crisis had a devastating effect on poultry production in these countries as well as grain producers and poultry meat exporters around the world. Strong and rapid currency devaluation prohibited or strongly reduced these countries' capability to buy feed or meats.

In contrast, most meat-producing ruminants can be grown on pastures that do not compete with human food. The majority of the feeding is done by grazing on land that is not suitable for extensive grain or other crop production. The amount of land in the world that is fit for extensive crop production (arable land) is relatively small and represents 11% of the world land area (Table 6). Furthermore, the arable land available for crop production is reduced by urban development. The arable land is not equally distributed. Although the United States enjoys 20% arable land, a densely populated country like China has only 8% and must depend on feed importation and innovative feeding systems. A vast continent such as Africa has only 7% arable land. Land topography such as high mountains and very large lakes affects rainfall; the angle of the land surface area to the sun, geological history, and land conservation practices are among the parameters that strongly affect the amount of arable land in each region and crop yield. In contrast, 26% of the world's land can be used as pasture, which sustains ruminants without competing with other human food production. Pasture area continues to grow as people clear forests, such as the rain forest in Brazil, or convert wild animal-grazing land into pasture for domestic animals at the cost of endangering numerous plant and animal species and negatively impacting the ecology.

There is still room for increases in all segments of meat production, but the future balance between poultry and other species will be determined by land use, environmental considerations, human population growth rate, available capital, and the stability of financial markets.

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