Pork exports add about £35 to the value of UK pigs, with products going to China making a major contribution to that total, AHDB’s chief strategy officer Tom Hind told industry leaders at the Oxford Farming Conference.
According to current AHDB figures, pigmeat exports to China reached 80,000 tonnes in 2016, up from 54,000 tonnes in 2015. This was on top of a 2015 export trade worth £25 million to the UK industry.
“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,” said Mr Hind.
“We played the long game (in relation to China). We started going to China with the British Government about 15 years ago but it wasn’t until about 2010 that exports started to take off.
“Increasingly, the pork sector has moved from seeing exports as a necessity to really adding value to the industry.”
Mr Hind also said that the perception of exports from the UK pig sector had changed over the years. Having initially been largely about balancing the carcase and finding markets to add value through ‘fifth quarter’ cuts like snouts, tails and trotters, export opportunities now included much higher value business.