Britain sells thousands of pigs to China
Britain sells thousands of pigs to China in export push
Britain is sending thousands of pigs to China in a bid to boost exports and exploit Chinese people’s love of offal and pork.
Chinese farmers and food companies have placed orders for 2,000 high-quality British pigs to breed with their inferior quality domestic animals.
A delegation of British pig farmers is in China this week to further increase sales of live breeding pigs, pork and farm technology.
Jim Paice, the Food Minister, flew out to join the group yesterday and will spend much of the next week drumming up trade for British food exports.
China’s rapidly growing urban middle-class has developed a taste for pork and demand for the meat is soaring.
However Chinese pork is low quality and there is not enough to go around the estimated 230 million middle-class Chinese. Although China produces 46 million metric tones of pork a year, demand far outstrips supply.
British farmers are therefore sending high-yielding and healthy pigs for breeding in China in order to increase pig numbers over there.
The pigs, which are mainly from the Large White, Landrace and Duroc breeds, sell for around £1,000 each. Farmers estimate that there is enough demand from China to export up to £20 million worth of breeding pigs a year.
Farmers are also increasing meat exports to China.
As well as enjoying pork cuts, Chinese consumers have developed a taste for the so-called fifth quarter of a pig, which consists of offal and tripe.
Shipments of meat and live pigs form part of the food industry’s plans to grow exports of British food and drink by 20 per cent by 2020. Last year exports were worth just over £12 billion, according to the Food and Drink Federation (FDF).
Mr Paice said that there is “massive scope” to increase exports of breeding pigs, pork and farm technology to China, which will not be self-sufficient in pig meat “for the foreseeable future”.