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Golden opportunity awaits pork industry

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

The world must rise to the challenge and feed an additional two billion people in the next 20 years. This will need to be done with less land and fewer resources available to farmers to feed their animals. Dr John Carr, swine veterinary specialist at Apiam Animal Health, Australia, says it is a given that these growing populations will require affordable food. This creates a golden opportunity for the swine industry.

Dr Carr said in a video presentation at a DanBred Africa symposium, which was recently held in Potchefstroom, that Africa has an important role to play in this regard. “Our job is to feed the children of tomorrow, and the children of the future will require great African pork.”

Read more about value adding in pork production.

During his presentation, Dr Carr gave an update on where the global pig industry is heading. He said despite the difficult times that most intensive animal farming operations are experiencing at present, the pork industry is very well positioned to profit from the situation.

State of European markets

According to Dr Carr, the European markets are currently in disarray. Although the pork price is at an all-time high (this not being good for consumers), the cost of production remains detrimental. European farmers are in fact losing money despite the high pork price. He said that although his clients in the United Kingdom are receiving a record high of two British pounds per kg carcass (R42/kg), the rapid rise in production costs is negating the margins. Covid-19 as well as African swine fever outbreaks in Germany and other European states, together with China stopping pork imports from European countries, are also exacerbating the situation.     

Opportunities for Africa

Dr Carr confirmed that China is a major role-player. He believes that the future of Africa may well consider China as a potential export market if the African herd can be developed well enough. Asia is going to need food and even though, at present, South Africa does not consider itself an exporter of pork meat, “one never knows what the future holds”.

The opportunity for Africa lies in the fact that China is rebuilding its herd which is back to 40 million sows (half of the world’s pig population), and many of these pigs are finisher pigs and not prize genetics.  

Pigs in demand

Dr Carr calculated that nearly 750 million more pigs per year will be required in 2040 with the growing world population. This will mean 25 million more sows will be required, which is a 30% increase from the current numbers. The question, however, is how these extra pigs will be fed and housed.

With a higher human consumption pattern, protein and energy demands for human and animal feeds will escalate. Added to that, he believes that one-and-a-half billion people out of the two billion people expected in the next 20 years are going to come out of Africa. The other half billion will be from Asia.

From an African point of view, these people will need to be fed and this is where an opportunity arises for the pork industry. Dr Carr said pork meat is currently popular among most Africans and when they can afford it as the continent gets wealthier, they will shift from eating goat to pork.

Get the latest pork carcass price statistics.    

In summary, he said pork producers will need to go back to basics. Good housing, good genetics, and diligent and disciplined farming practices are important. Health and nutritional needs need to be concentrated on. Basic on-farm management practices like reducing feed wastage are important for producers to remain sustainable.   

For more information, contact DanBred Africa at support@danbred.co.za. – Christal-Lize Muller, AgriOrbit

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