Pork prices begin to fall as stock of breeding sows grows
China Daily


File photo: VCG

Pork prices in China have started to decline, and pork production will gradually be restored as supporting policies take effect, the agriculture minister said.

The number of breeding sows began to rise last month, and the number of other pigs decreased at a much slower pace, said Han Changfu, minister of agriculture and rural affairs.

Despite a decrease in pork production, there had been big increases in the production of poultry, beef and mutton this year, which meant the supply of meat could, in general, be assured, Han said at an agricultural forum held in Nanchang, Jiangxi province, on Friday.

The supply of pork is the most prominent issue among all agricultural products in the domestic market, Han said, adding that big declines in pig stocks this year due to multiple factors-including African swine fever outbreaks and strict environmental protection measures by local authorities-had pushed up pork prices significantly.

The ministry has worked with seven other departments to stabilize production, including canceling unnecessary limits on areas where pigs can be raised, encouraging the cross-regional transport of pork and supportive financial policies, Han said.

"These measures, in combination, have effectively boosted market confidence," he said.

The average wholesale price of pork in China was about 48 yuan ($6.80) a kilogram on Friday, the ministry said. That is down from 50 yuan a kg during the week of Nov 8 to 14, but still 157 percent above last year's level.

The number of breeding sows in stock-a major gauge to evaluate the potential of pork production-increased by 0.6 percent in October from the previous month, following months of decline. In August the stock fell 9.1 percent.

The stock of all other pigs also started to stabilize-decreasing by 0.6 percent in October, compared with a decrease of 9.8 percent in August and 3 percent in September, the ministry said.

Wei Baigang, head of the ministry's development and planning department, said at a news conference in late October that production of pork across China had, in general, stopped dropping and had started to rise, and production might resume its normal level next year.

Pork is a primary meat in China, which produces half of the world's total. Zhu Zengyong, a pork analyst at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, estimated that African swine fever has resulted in a market shortfall of more than 10 million metric tons, or at least 20 percent of China's total pork output, this year.