Russia’s pork production is set to grow from 4 million tonnes in 2019 to 6 million tonnes per year by 2025, Jambulat Khatuov, Russia’s deputy agricultural minister, said at a recent conference in Moscow.
The growth of the Russian pig industry is about to accelerate on the back of sustainable growth in domestic consumption as well as exports. In the 5-year period between 2014 and 2019, Russia’s pork production grew by 1.2 million tonnes from 2.8 million tonnes to 4 million tonnes, Khatuov said, adding that commercial farms accounted for nearly 90% of that growth.
The growth of Russia’s pig industry captured on camera with a healthy litter of piglets drinking milk on a farm in Lipetsk region. Photo: Vincent ter Beek
Currently, construction is underway of farms laid down in 2017-2018, when the last soft loans under new investment projects in the industry were issued. The most important tasks for the Russian pig industry are to improve logistics, establish a domestic breeding base and develop exports, Khatuov said.
No imported pork for the 1st time in 30 years
In 2020, Russia will not have imported pork for the 1st time in 30 years, Yuri Kovalev, chairman of the Russian Union of Pork Producers (RUPP), said at the same conference. He said that Russia has come from far, from being almost entirely dependent on pork imports in the early 2000s to almost 100% self-sufficiency in 2020.
With no imports, there is no room for further import replacement, which means there are growing concerns over the oversupply crisis on the domestic market. Fortunately, domestic pork consumption has been seen steadily increasing.
Kovalev said, “Pork production has reached 28 kg per capita – the highest figure ever, and this growth is likely to continue.” He added that the domestic consumption is expected to grow by 0.5 million tonnes in the next 5 years.
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Boosting pork exports by 400,000 tonnes
Russia will boost pork export by 400,000 tonnes by 2024, Kovalev said. In the initial 9 months of 2020, exports doubled compared to the same period of the previous year. By the end of the year, the export is likely to grow to 190,000 tonnes.
Kovalev added, “Also, a few years back, Russia has been primarily exporting by-products, while this year, the share of meat is expected to be around 60%. This sharply increases export value.” He added that in monetary terms, pork exports are s projected to hit $ 300 million in 2020.
Ukraine, Belarus, Vietnam and Hong Kong are currently the main buyers of Russian pork. Kovalev said that this year, strong export growth has been primarily created by sales to Vietnam.
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Despite bad market conditions, pork production in Russia has been growing at an unprecedented and uninterrupted pace lately.
Rising costs for feedstuffs
At the same time, Russian pig farmers raise concerns over the rising prices for feedstuffs. Pork production costs are expected to climb by 10% to 15% in 2021, pushing up both the retail and export prices, Kovalev said.
He warned, “Against that background, the business marginality may not just drop, but also cross break-even point.
In an earlier version of this article, it was erroneously stated that the there would be 6 million pigs by 2025.