Russia expects strong growth in pork exports

By Vladislav Vorotnikov

- Last updated on GMT

Russia expects strong growth in pork exports

Related tags Pork

Russia is set to export 100,000 tonnes (t) of pork in 2019, up 20% compared to the same period of the previous year, Russian government officials have forecast.

The growth in pork exports has been happening since 2012, with the foreign sales in 2018 increasing by 18% year-on-year, the Ministry said in a statement. With the further development of the domestic pig industry, Russia is expected be able to further strengthen its positions on the global pork market, the Ministry added.

The main sales markets for Russian pork are Hong King, Vietnam and the countries of the post-Soviet space. Other promising markets include primarily Asian countries, including China, Japan and South Korea, the Ministry said.

In 2018, Russia exported 80,000t of pork with 56% supplies heading to Ukraine and 23% to Belarus, Russian Federal Customs Service reported. Export to the countries outside CIS region remained low last year. Russian National Meat Association previously forecast that the country would be able to more than triple meat exports bringing it to one million tonnes by 2024, including around 300,000t of pork.

There is a growing optimism regarding the Russian pork exports, since the country reported on a strong progress with tacking African Swine Fever (ASF). Since the beginning of the year, there were only six outbreaks registered in the country, according to the Russian veterinary service Rosselhoznadzor. This is believed to be the lowest figure since the beginning of the widespread epidemic in the country.

All eyes on China

The forecast made by the Russian Agricultural Ministry is moderate, and it is not envisages that the Chinese authorities would eventually open the domestic market for the Russian pork, Yuri Kovalev, chairman of the Russian Union of Pork Producers told the Russian newspaper Agroinvestor.

It is, however, likely that the continuing ASF epidemic in China will make the country more flexible in negotiations with potential pork exporters, Kovalev said. Basically, the entire world is looking on China with fear these days, as there is a rapid growth of frozen pork stocks in the country, since the farmers are massively slaughtering their pigs being afraid of ASF outbreaks, Kovalev said. However, as soon as the stocks of frozen pork deplete, the prices may rapidly go up, Kovaled forecast.

As of today, most Asian markets remain closed for the Russian pork, but giving the ASF this may change in future, according to Kovalev.

Several Russian agricultural holdings were authorized to export pork to Hong Kong early May 2019. The Russian biggest pork manufacturer Miratorg said that it was going to send the first batch of 125t of pork in a few weeks. Viktor Linnik, the president of Miratorg commented that the opening of the Hong Kong market was very important for the Russian pig industry, “which is able to compete with the world’s leading manufacturers on the global market​”.

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