Increases in pork and beef consumption in China continue to outstrip production growth, resulting in increased import projections for 2008.
In a semi-annual report, USDA's agricultural attaché in Beijing said the worst snowstorms in 50 years during January and February, along with a slow recovery from porcine blue ear disease, have hampered livestock production in China.
The attaché forecast an 8% rise in pork imports in 2008 to 200,000 metric tons and a 6% decline in pork exports to 330,000 metric tons due to low production, higher domestic prices and an appreciating Renminbi. The report put 2008 domestic pork production at 42 million metric tons, up 1% from 2007, but still 16% below 2005.
Chinese hog production continues to migrate from small backyard operations (less than 50 hogs) to huge commercial farms. It estimated 50 to 60% of backyard operations have left swine production while commercial farms have increased 20% in recent years.
The report said U.S.-based Whiteshire Hamroc Co. and China Tangrenshen Group in Hunan Province have signed a contract to import 2,000 breeding pigs for a large commercial hog development project.
The attaché forecast a four-fold increase in China's beef imports to 30,000 metric tons due to increased demand, particularly around the Olympics in August. Some of that beef is expected to come from South America, since China has lifted its ban on four Brazilian states.
China is expected to reduce its beef exports by 4% to 78,000 metric tons. Beef production is expected to rise by 3% to 7.7 million metric tons, the report said.
Source: South African Meat Industry Company (SAMIC)