December 4, 2008


China to fill pork export gaps to EU


As pig production in the EU, the US and Canada take a dip due to higher feed prices, China could fill this void as a main exporter to the EU market.


International director for the Danish Meat Association, Knud Buhl said China is an emerging important pig exporter to EU. Speaking at the recent China Pig Summit at the EuroTier Exhibition in Hanover, he pointed out that he forecasts a three per cent drop in pork production in EU.


He stressed that the main growth factories for pork production will take place in the developing world, including China and Brazil. China alone will increase output from 38.8 million tonnes in 1998 to a current production of 48 million tonnes, rising to 55.1 million tonnes by 2012 - an upshot of 16.3 million tonnes or 42 per cent.


Meanwhile, Brazil has already witnessed a production rise from 1.7 million tonnes in 1998 to 3.2 million tonnes today with a forecast rise to 3.8 million tonnes in 2012 - a rise of 2.1 million tonnes or 123 per cent.


However, production in the EU-27 has been stable over the same period, maintaining 22.1 million tonnes.


Although Europe only has 10 per cent of the global population, it takes up 20 per cent of the global pork consumption. As feed prices escalate, farmers are cutting back on production in the EU. 


He said that in Europe as with the rest of the world, the pork producers have been confronted with a series of difficulties in the economic downturn and fronting these, the rise in feed costs.


Poland and Spain have seen significant declines in their pig breeding herds and across the EU the herd numbers have fallen by 5.5 per cent, with the breeding herd down by 8.3 per cent.


He said that in the fourth quarter of 2008 EU production is expected to fall by about four percent and this is going to continue into 2009 with production down by more than four per cent.  The US and Canada are also expected to see big falls in production next year. That leaves only countries like China and Brazil increasing production while Russia and Japan maintain present production levels.


China is also a complementary market for the EU because of the amount of by-products it takes specifically in the form of pig intestines. 


Currently, the EU is undergoing co-operations with China in trade and exports but problems prevail in hygiene and health standards.

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