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Pigmeat exports adding £35 to the value of a pig

6th Jan 2017 / By Alistair Driver

Pork exports, primarily to China, are adding about £35 to the value of UK pigs, according to AHDB’s chief strategy officer Tom Hind.

tom hindAddressing the Oxford Farming Conference, Mr Hind singled out the recent ‘phenomenal growth’ in pigmeat exports to China as one of the meat industry’s big successes.

AHDB forecasts pigmeat exports to China alone reached 80,000 tonnes in 2016, a big leap from 54,000t in 2015.

China has driven the surge in UK pork exports, which grew by 1,800 per cent between 2010 and 2015, he said. 

Pigmeat exports, overall, were worth £25 million in 2015 and accounted for just over a quarter of domestic production that year, second only to lamb as a percentage.

Mr Hind said: “We estimate exports as a whole, of which China is the biggest market, will add something like £35 to the value of the individual pig.”

He said pigmeat had been AHDB’s biggest success when it came to targeting China and its 1.4 billion consumers for meat exports, in partnership with the Government and the China-Britain Business Council.

“It is an area we have invested significant time, energy and resource into as an organisation. We work closely woth the processors to give them a platform to export, as well as providing technical insight and the necessary expertise.

"We played the long game - we started going out to China with the British Government about 15 years ago but it wasn’t until about 2010 that exports started to take off,” Mr Hind said.

Mr Hind said the perception of exports from with the UK pig sector had changed over the years. Initially, it was largely about balancing the carcase and finding markets to add value through ‘fifth quarter’ cuts like snouts, tails and trotters. But now export opportunities for higher values are being seized.

“Increasingly, the pork sector has moved from seeing exports as a necessity to really adding value to the industry,” he said.