Russia increases pork exports for second year running

Russia finished 2019 in a net exporter position for the second consecutive year, according to the latest figures from AHDB.

The country’s position has strengthened considerably from the previous year, up from +8,900 tonnes in 2018 to +27,500 tonnes 2019.

Russian exports of pig meat continued to perform strongly across the final quarter of the year. In 2019 overall, Russian exports of pig meat reached 138,200 tonnes, 19% more than in the previous year.

Most of the uplift was driven by gains in the fresh and frozen pork category, which recorded an increase of 76% on the year. Conversely, exports of offal which has traditionally Russia’s largest pig meat export, recorded an 11% decline on the year.

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Growth in the country’s pig production continues despite the fact Russia is being affected by African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreaks in both wild boar and domestic pigs.

Felicity Rusk, analyst at AHDB, said the uplift in exports is a reflection of an uplift in domestic production: “According to the Russian Ministry of Agriculture, pig meat production reached an estimated 4.36 million tonnes in 2019. This was 7.2% more than in the previous year.

Regarding ASF, Rusk said that stringent biosecurity measures are being used to reduce the risk of the virus infecting industrial farms, although these have not been entirely effective.

She adds: “ASF has been present in western Russia for a number of years, but in 2019 the virus entered the far eastern district, near the Chinese border. This area accounts for only around 2% of production. There had reportedly been plans for investment in the coming years, with expansion to supply the Chinese market. However, spread of ASF into this area now makes this ambition seem even more challenging.”

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