Will there be a SWINocalypse?


At present, the subject of the apocalypse is particularly relevant. The pandemic, climate change, economic crisis… Hence, it all affects the interpretation of events on agrifood markets, including the pork market. Yet again, the mass media is full of information about the new “SWINocalypse” in Ukraine.

It is declared that in 2021 Ukraine will be facing the major closure of inefficient pig farms. Indeed, recently we have been witnessing a decrease in number of farms. However, it is important to understand, what kind of deсrease we are talking about. Out of 1.5 thousand farms in Ukraine, only a little over 100 (6.5%) keep more than 5 thousand heads. Therefore, the majority of farms that are “leaving” the industry are those that are involved in pig breeding in addition to their core business. We are not talking about significant market players leaving the industry, but mainly those who keep less than 2 thousand heads.

This conclusion is proven by statistics.For instance, ias of the 1st of January 2014 3.8 million pigs were kept by 3.26 thousand agricultural enterprises, whereas now 1.55 thousand enterprises are breeding 3.3 million pigs. The industry “shrunk” by almost 52.4% by the number of operators, while the pig stock decreased by half a million heads. You should also take into consideration that last year alone about 120 thousand of them were “taken” by the ASF, not inefficiency.

As a result, those pork producers who have adapted to the new climate are gradually filling in a niche that has been freed up, expanding pig stock and increasing their market share. In particular, at the beginning of 2013 farms with over 5 thsd heads kept 58% of the commercial pig stock whereas now their share reached 74% of the “industrial” pig stock.

The correlation between the number of market operators to the number of commercial pig stock, 2013-2020

Source: Analytical department of AUPB based on the data from State Statistics Service of Ukraine.

To confirm the intention of market operators to develop the industry, at the beginning of the year the Association of Ukrainian Pig Producers surveyed 100 pork producers, which keep over 71% of all pig in Ukraine (more than 2.3 million heads). 59% of them are planning to expand their production capacities!!!

Another positive fact is that the major market players, which have suffered from ASF in previous years, are now resuming production.

Therefore the claims about Ukrainian meat products disappearing from shelves and pig production being on the verge of extinction, that are being voiced by the same experts over the past 7 years, are ill founded. They are mostly aimed at those, who are unfamiliar with the specifics of the industry and current situation.

So, don’t panic! Ukrainian pig breeding was, is and will continue to evolve!

Association of Ukrainian Pig Breeders — is a non-profit voluntary organization. Established in July 14-th, 2011. At present, AUPB unites 41 farms, supplying over 50% of commercial pork in Ukraine. The main objective of the Association is to protect rights and interests of pig producers, achieve international standards of production due to implementation of modern technologies.

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