Ukraine likely to step up pork imports

18-01-2017 | | |
Snapshot of Matiushi cooperation in Ukraine. Photo: Robert Bodde.
Snapshot of Matiushi cooperation in Ukraine. Photo: Robert Bodde.

As from mid 2017 the Ukrainian pork market might face a shortage of domestic production. As a result, the country may have to step up pork imports, from e.g. Poland, Canada and Brazil.

That was stated by Artur Loza, president of Ukraine’s Pork Producers Association (PPA), to press agency Tass on 10 January. Loza attributed most problems of the pig industry to the African Swine Fever (ASF) epidemic, saying it is not only undermining profitability of pig breeding businesses, but also hampering export opportunities.

Pig industry productivity affected

Amid the ASF spread, Ukraine’s productivity has been significantly affected, both in terms of production and export of pork. With no serious changes on the market, the country will face a shortage for this type of meat by summer of 2017, Loza said.

According to the PPA, Ukraine’s pig inventory reduced from 3.83 million head in 2015 to 3.69 million head in 2016. So far, PPA has not issued any forecast on production performance of the country’s pig industry in 2017.

Fall of production performance is inevitable

Amid numerous problems prospects of Ukraine’s pig industry, forecasts on its future remain mostly gloomy. Ivan Tomich, the president of the country’s Association of Farmers and Private Landowners told regional media Agri Acta, that in next couple of years, pig population in the country will fall by 20-25%, compared to the current inventory.

He described the industry situation as ‘critical’, saying that he expected both individual farmers and even medium-sized industrial farms would reduce production capacities. Some large-scale industrial farms might even have to abandon production-enhancing upgrades, Tomich said.

New veterinary body needed

At the same time, Ukraine’s government could help pig producers with the establishment of a phytosanitary inspection, Loza suggested. He said that a veterinary body like this could in future help the country’s pork to find a way on market of European Union (EU).

With this body established, Ukraine pig farmers would get at least theoretical chances to get their production into the EU. However, the way Ukraine’s food goes to European market depends on numerous issues and in the first place on implementation of European integration laws, Loza added.

According to Ukraine’s Ministry for European Integration, the establishment of a nationwide phytosanitary inspection is one of the reforms envisaged by the Association Agreement with EU for 2017.

Vladislav Vorotnikov Eastern Europe correspondent