This situation will probably result in the further decrease of the pig population in the country, analysts believe.
According to the Central Statistical Department of Poland, the number of pigs as of June 1,2015 in Poland’s farms amounted to 11.64 million head – 84,000 less than the same date last year. During this period the population of sows dropped by 6%, and the piglet population declined by 3%.
BGZ BNP Paribank’s estimates state that during the first half of this year for the price of one kilogram of pork, farmers could buy 4.31 kg of feed. A year ago this figure was 4.54 kg. The report suggests that the decrease in profitability of the industry is connected not only with ASF, but also with the Russian food embargo, which cut the export potential of Poland's pig industry.
At the same time, ASF also remains an important factor. According to the Russian veterinary body Rosselkhoznadzor, as on May 1, 2015 there had been 403 cases in Poland and the Baltic countries. By August it reached 903 cases. Market participants admit that industry is going through hard times.
At the same time, industry representatives are optimistic, believing the ASF epidemic will force the domestic pig industry to adopt a more industrial scale. Similarly, the Russian embargo might be offset by growth in the world’s demand for EU pork.
Witold Choiński, head of the Meat Producers Union Polskie Mięso, believes that Poland in the coming years should focus on pork production at large farms, which are more cost-effective and more protected against ASF.
In addition, in his opinion pig farmers should investigate organic pork production, which has bright prospects for the EU market.
According to the latest industry estimates, the price of pork on the domestic market is 4.7 – 4.8 Polish Zloty (US$ 1.24 – 1.27) per kg. That is about 9% lower than a year before, and not enough to provide good margin of business.
According to Janusz Radzewicz, president of the Association of Butchers and Meat Producers [Stowarzyszenia Rzeźników i Wędliniarzy], the country may benefit from growth of EU pork exports to China.
“This is a good signal for us, although because we can not export our pork to China, but there will be a place for our pork production at the other market [of EU],” he said. “However, the purchasing prices are still too small to give us a chance to increase production. But the good news is that this year's drought will not affect the growth of retail prices.”