Danish farmers benefit from booming Chinese demand

By Poorna Rodrigo

- Last updated on GMT

Danish Crown said demand from China has eased the Russia-inflicted pressure on pork prices
Danish Crown said demand from China has eased the Russia-inflicted pressure on pork prices

Related tags Export International trade Import China Denmark Livestock Pork

A drop in Chinese pork production, generating more demand for pigmeat imports, is a boon for Danish pork farmers who are ready to double exports to China.

Danish Crown head of press Jens Hansen told GlobalMeatNews​ that this “has been a game changer for the farmers, as we have seen the prices on slaughter pigs rise nearly 20% this spring​”.

A spokesperson from the Danish Agriculture and Food Council (DAFC) said that Denmark is “close to doubling​” pork exports to China, in terms of value, for the first six months of the year compared to the same period in 2015.

China’s pork production declined after an environment regulation imposed new pig production pollution limits last year. In the first six months of 2014 China imported 397,298 tonnes of pork - fresh and frozen - of which 30,996 tonnes came from Denmark.

During the corresponding period in 2015, out of China’s 319,891 tonnes of fresh and frozen pork imports, Denmark’s share increased slightly, to 32,833 tonnes. But this year (2016), China’s fresh and frozen pork imports have skyrocketed to 762,338 tonnes, with Denmark accounting for 83,009 tonnes of these imports – a 153% growth in imports to China from Denmark compared with 2015, according to DAFC data.

Meanwhile, China’s total importation of pork by-products increased to 623,872 tonnes this year (January–June 2016) from 377,887 tonnes in 2014 during the same period, with imports from Denmark rising from 75,003 tonnes in (January–June 2014) to 111,883 tonnes in 2016 during the corresponding period. Denmark was the second largest pork by-product exporter to China after the US in 2016. That said, China’s pork liver imports from Denmark was down from 3,242 tonnes in 2014 to 409 tonnes in 2016, according to DAFC data.

The industry in Denmark is anticipating another growth spurt, following a slight slowdown since the first six months of the year. “We might see the export speed up again and we are confident we can double the export in value and volume,​” the DAFC spokesperson said.

Hansen agreed: “Just now the demand from China is a bit more calm, but it is still significant and it has surely taken out a lot of the pressure on the prices seen since the Russian ban started two years ago.​”

Indeed, China is a key market for pork exports from the whole EU: more than 50% of EU pigmeat is exported to China. Even when EU’s pigmeat exports to Russia was at its highest, the 28–country bloc still only exported 25% of its total exports there, the DAFC spokesperson added.

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