THE NETHERLANDS, Den Haag. The shrinking sow herds are also having an impact on the export business. Germany remains the most important customer despite a sharp decline.
Dutch pig traders exported significantly fewer animals to European Union countries last year than in 2020. Preliminary data from the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) show that around 6.26 million piglets were sold outside the EU, down 744,100 or 10.6% on the previous year. Germany remained the main customer with 3.56 million animals purchased, but deliveries to Germany were down by 718,300 head or 16.8%. Among other things, the pig backlog at the beginning of the year and the low prices on the pig market in Germany due to African swine fever (ASF) had a dampening effect on sales. In the Netherlands itself, the reduction in sow stocks also resulted in lower supply.
The Dutch also sold fewer piglets to many other EU countries in 2021. Exports to neighboring Belgium, for example, fell by 15% to 766,600 and to Italy by 22% to 96,800 animals. There was a real slump of 71.4% to just 41,400 piglets in business with Poland. One exception was the marketing of animals to Spain, which increased by around 258,000 or 19.9% year-on-year to 1.55 million head.
The distortions on the EU pig market caused by Corona and ASF and the curbing of China's pork imports had an even greater impact on Dutch slaughter pig exports in 2021 than on piglets. These fell by around 533,500, or 42.5%, compared to 2020, to just 721,400 head. The main reason for this was the slump in shipments of ready-to-slaughter pigs to Germany by 567,500 or half to 559,200 head. Although this was somewhat mitigated by increased sales to Belgium, Poland and Italy, the bottom line was a heavy loss. The situation was similar for sow sales in the EU, which fell by almost 19% compared with 2020 to 512,200 head. The decline in exports to Germany, the main customer, was also responsible for this, with 136,300 head or 42.6% down to 183,100 sows.
Source: fleischwirtschaft.de; AgE