December 12, 2019
African swine fever and plant protein will reshape EU agricultural markets over next ten years
According to an agricultural outlook report by the European Commission, China's African swine fever (ASF) and a diet shift towards plant-based protein will result in fluctuating pork prices and increased cultivation of soybeans and pulses, reported Reuters.
The report said exports of pork annually from the European Union (EU) may peak at four million tonnes by 2022 compared to 2.7 million tonnes in 2018, but this depends on the recovery rate of swine herds in China.
By 2030, exports of pork will ease to about 3.4 million tonnes, higher than volumes before the ASF outbreak in China, said the Commission.
The Commission said until swine herds recover in China, prices will remain high. But, pork prices will drop based on the speed herds recover and the swine production growth among EU competitors, which are the United States, Brazil and Canada.
The report noted uncertainty regarding if the main pork exporters from the EU, Germany, Spain, Denmark and France, will be free from any ASF outbreaks. Bulgaria and Romania are among the 10 EU countries affected by ASF.
The Commission said a drop in pork prices may not boost demand for the meat from Europe, which is losing to cheaper poultry.
Consumption of poultry is increasing and is expected to steadily grow with consumers concerned about health issues, the environment and animal welfare decreasing demand for other meat.
In addition, consumers' concerns are likely to favour protein-rich crops cultivation. EU soybeans are projected to cover 1.3 million hectares in 2030 (higher than the one million this year), and pulses will increase to 2.5 million hectares in 2030 (compared to 1.5 million this year).
The Commission said increased demand for dairy products sourced from non-genetically modified (GM) substances exposed livestock mean protein crops can benefit further, possibly replacing imported GM soybeans used in livestock feed.
It added that the most grown oilseed crop is rapeseed and should remain so, as it's highly valued in crop rotation and a good non-GM feed ingredient source.