Pig International - November 2012 - 12
If China's current moves to upgrade the quantity
and quality of pig production are successful,
its demand for pork imports could fall.
By Stuart Lumb
Pork and China are inextricably linked
in the minds of many Westerners -
not only is pig meat known to be an
essential part of the Chinese diet, the
country also provides a vital market
for the international pig industry.
China treats pork as a strategically
important food and with its rising
standard of living, more can be spent on
pork per head and demand for the meat
will continue to be strong, especially for
value-added and convenience products.
However, chicken is also popular,
especially with the younger generation.
This can be seen by the number of fast
food chains serving chicken dishes that
are now commonly found all over the
nation and meat consumption currently
favors poultry over pork, because of
the relatively lower price of the former.
Chinese pork consumption decline
China's pork consumption is
expected to further decline to 62
percent by 2020, although given the
sheer size of the pig industry, the meat
is expected to retain its dominant
position long-term, and will continue to
show the greatest growth in volume.
It is predicted that consumption
will increase mainly in lower income
categories living in urban areas as
more of the rural population moves
into towns and cities. The value-added
segment also is growing fueled by
A 1,200 sow unit at the
Institute of Agriculture at
Henan University in the
province of Henan.
❱❱ China's cost of pig production
is currently one of the highest
on the planet, because
of low productivity. ❰❰
demand from the
urban middle class
and from the wealthy
since the economic
reforms in the late
at 37kg of pork and 13kg
of poultry, along with 9kg of beef and
sheep meat. With regard to future pork
consumption, food safety was cited in
a 2010 university survey as the number
one concern for most consumers.
Secure supply chain
Significantly, consumers seem
to be willing to pay a premium for
pork produced in a secure supply
chain. With the pork industry's
current fragmentation, it's expected
that it will take years to develop a
widespread coordinated supply chain
that will provide consumers with full
confidence in food safety, especially
after a number of recent health
scare food scandals that have led to
short-term falls in consumption.
Pig prices have been all over the board
since 2006 because of unbalanced supply
and demand as small pig producers
quit the industry, and larger commercial
units have not been established yet to
replace all the production leading to
fewer pigs being produced. The soaring
pig prices in 2008 and 2011 were
indicative of shortages in those years.
Furthermore, PRRS (Blue Ear) in
2008 caused a dramatic 20 percent
decline in herd size, pushing prices up
again. Then, in early 2012 pork prices
started to fall as production increased
slightly and more pork was imported.
Consumer demand, food safety
While observers today believe
the demand for pork will continue
www.WATTAgNet.com | November/December 2012