September 29, 2003
Positive Outlook for China's Live Hog Industry in Year 2003
According to industry observers, the outlook for the live hog industry in China this year is favorable. A direct indicator for this positive outlook is the considerable fall in market supply and a rise in live hog prices. Additionally, the SARS outbreak in the 2nd quarter has caused consumers to turn away from eating wild game, consequently raising the demand for livestock and poultry products such as pork.
In recent years, the pace in development and growth of Chinese cities and their economies have accelerated. A substantial number of large-scale pig farms originally set aside as bases for the Central Government's "food availability" project, has instead been designated to be torn down or relocated. With fewer of such large-scale pig farms, the impact on the volume of market supply is seen significant.
Following the increase in number of specialized farmers and wage earners in China, the number of backyard pig farmers start to decline. It was reported that the number of backyard live hog farms has dropped by about 10%, compared to the same period last year.
In addition, as division of labor intensifies hog raisers often earn less than hog butchers resulting in many unhappy backyard pig farmers. The profit made from raising two to five live pigs in a year is even lower than the monthly wage of a worker. Consequently, the number of backyard big farmers has reduced greatly.
The outbreak of various poultry and livestock epidemic diseases has been the bane of backyard hog production. Since the second half of last year, the survival rate of piglets has reduced considerably as a result of epidemic diseases, lowering the number of live sows on hand and causing a shortfall in the supply of hogs.
Furthermore, the flooding of the Huai River basin since May and the persistent high temperatures in the southern provinces for the past months have all taken their toll on live hog farming and supply. All these have helped in reducing the number of backyard pig farmers.
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