Ukrainian pig farming partly lost investment attractiveness

Ukraine pig farming
Photo: Canva

As the recovery push that dominated the industry through 2023 winds down, the Ukrainian pig industry sees profitability falling. Oksana Jurchenko, president of the Ukrainian Pig Farmers’ Association, has recently revealed this.

The Ukrainian pig herd population made a significant recovery in 2023, reaching the pre-war level, according to Jurchenko in an interview with local news outlet, Delo.A shortage in the live pigs market largely drove this positive trend. This attracted substantial new investments into pig farms.

Jurchenko also revealed that not just pig farmers invested in expanding their operations. Other agricultural firms, previously not engaged in breeding pigs, also pumped money into this business, seeking to quickly make money from converting relatively cheap grain into expensive meat.

Despite the challenges, the Ukrainian pig industry demonstrated remarkable resilience after the 2022 shocks. Jurchenko noted that the industry stabilised, even after the country saw between 8% and 10% of the farms destroyed or ending up in the territories controlled by Russian forces.

Pork rush

However, the rush on the pork market has gradually come to an end, Jurchenko admitted. “If in the past processors had to search for a source to buy live pigs, now they can choose between [different] suppliers,” she said, adding that even during Easter, the time of high demand, the “season of high prices” didn’t happen this year.

“Overall, in 2024, the selling price of pigs is not much higher than the cost of breeding, and in some weeks, these figures are almost identical. This means pig farming is losing its attractiveness for farmers hoping to enter this business and earn quick money,” Jurchenko stated.

Rising demand

However, the general mood in the industry is far from the lowest ebb. Jurchenko noted that some forecasts envisage a 10% jump in pork consumption in the country in 2024. She explained that the gap between pork and poultry prices on the grocery shelves has narrowed, which drives more consumers to opt for pork.

Exports play a minor role in the Ukrainian pig industry. Oddly enough, the country primarily exports pork to the UAE. Jurchenko explained that the country mainly purchases pork to feed migrant workers, and some Ukrainian pig farmers take advantage of this trade.

The labour shortage is the key concern

Jurchenko confirmed the earlier reports that a lack of workers is the key problem of the Ukrainian pig farms, attributing this primarily to the impact of the ongoing mobilisation.

Jurchenko acknowledged the industry’s concerns, confirming earlier reports that a lack of workers is a significant issue for Ukrainian pig farms. She attributed this primarily to the impact of the ongoing mobilisation, emphasizing that the staffing situation, while not yet critical, is a significant challenge.

She added that pig farmers have not yet started filling traditional male vacancies with women.


ter Beek
Vincent ter Beek Editor of Pig Progress / Topic: Pigs around the world
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