Report: China sets a clear goal to restore its pig herd

In 2020, the United States accounted for nearly 14% of China’s pork imports

calendar icon January 11, 2023

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3 minutes to read

As the world’s largest producer and consumer of pork, China took a massive hit from the outbreak of African swine fever (ASF) in 2018 and has since been on a bumpy road trying to restore its pig herd amid further complications from COVID-19, the swine cycle and inflation, from Among other factors, according to New release From Tony Wang Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA).

As a result of the devastation caused by wild boar, Wang said, pork imports into China rose dramatically from 2019 to 2021. At its peak in 2020, the United States accounted for nearly 14% of China’s pork imports. As China gradually rebuilds its swine herd, its pork imports will drop sharply in 2022, although the ongoing impact of hog pigs combined with the “swine cycle” effect and speculative activities in the market keeps current pork prices fairly high. What (about $4.6/kg).

Whatever the challenges, China has set clear targets for its pig industry and has embarked on rebuilding its pig population primarily through the following methods.

structural transformation

China began tightening regulations for the pig industry in 2014 to reduce its environmental impact while increasing efficiency and quality. The ASF only served to speed up this process by mistakenly erecting higher barriers for smaller players in the market to return once they were forced out of the market.

Currently, national incentive packages are designed to support only large-scale pig farms, those with an annual slaughter rate of at least 500 heads. The larger the size, the more generous the incentives. Meanwhile, the Chinese government is guiding and encouraging small farms to join large pig producers for technical training and assistance while providing additional space for these large producers in return.

According to Dr Zhu Zengyong of CAAS’s Institute of Animal Sciences, pig farms in China now account for about 60% of the market share, aiming to reach 65% by 2025, while small farms and individual pig producers have fallen from more than 90% in 2001. to about 40% this year, Wang wrote in his report.

national coordination mechanism

The swine cycle not only harms the pig industry, but also endangers China’s national food security because pork is a staple meat in China, accounting for more than 60% of the total meat consumption on average. The previously mentioned structural shift makes it possible and easier for the government to monitor pork production in China and allows the government to intervene once certain parameters fluctuate beyond specified levels.

Corresponding intervention measures will help offset the effect of “herd” entry or exit of smaller pig farmers or individuals when pork prices fluctuate throughout the year. The same is also true of implementing technical improvements to improve biosecurity throughout the industry, even along the supply chain, particularly against ASF. The aim is to mitigate the impact of the swine cycle while stabilizing pork supplies for 1.4 billion Chinese.

technological developments

China imported a large amount of pig farming to help rebuild its pig herd during the 2020-2021 period. The United States played a significant role in this process, especially in 2021, when it accounted for 38.78% of imported breeding animals. Meanwhile, China has also set a goal of achieving 95% self-sufficiency in basic breeding resources for pig herd by 2035. China initiates working mechanisms among enterprises, government agencies, universities and research institutions to develop and promote market-oriented technological innovations that will drive progress in Breeding techniques.

Major pig producers in China, such as Muyuan Foods, Wen’s, New Hope, are doubling down on R&D activities and working with different universities to develop better technologies in environment control, feeding, automated health inspection, etc.

China is determined to grow its pig industry, and these approaches can create more opportunities for international cooperation, such as trading in feed stocks for converted pig farms and technological advances to help better combat ASF.

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