This January, the price of pork carcases class S – which is what Belgium produces the most, was €122 – 15% less than in January 2014, according to the report. For pork carcases type E, which represent some 14% of Belgian production, the drop in price was even more significant, almost a fifth, between January 2014 (before the Russian embargo which started last August) and January 2015.
Lower prices have not helped Belgian pork meat producers find new markets or export more to existing markets, however. Belgium already exported the vast majority of its pork to other EU countries (92.5% in December 2013) and there, prices have been depressed by the Russian ban with former exports diverted onto EU markets.
Indeed, between December 2013 and December 2014, Belgium’s overall pork meat exports decreased by 19.8%. This includes exports to other EU countries and to non-EU countries, according to the report.
The country’s pork meat exports to non-EU countries decreased by 25.4% between December 2013 and December 2014. This represented a total loss in non-EU meat exports of almost €9 million, the report showed. Data on Belgian pork meat exports to Russia is not yet available beyond January 2014, the Belgian government added in its report.
This situation will "for sure change the landscape of the pork sector in Belgium", Thierry Smagghe, CEO of the Belgian meat federation Febev, told GlobalMeatNews. The country’s pork sector has taken a hard hit, he explained, and finding alternative markets is not that straightforward, as many other pork-producing countries in Europe are after the same goal. "We set our hope to Mexico who will soon come to Europe for inspections," Smagghe said.
This trade data provided by the Belgian government will be updated every three months to justify moves by the Belgian federal and regional governments requesting European Commission support for the country’s pork meat producers, the Belgian economy ministry explained in a statement.