Pig industry Belarus bounces back

Pig industry Belarus
In 2023, Belarus manufactured 426,000 tonnes of pork, 6% more than the previous year. Photo: Canva

The long-troubled pig industry in Belarus sees its operational performance improving as a major government development programme takes off.

In 2023, Belarus manufactured 426,000 tonnes of pork, 6% more than the previous year, according to estimations by the Belarussian Agricultural and Food Ministry. As of December 1, Belarus kept 2.1 million pigs at its farms, 1% more than in 2022.

Industrial farms boosted production by roughly 8%. The backyard segment however keeps dwindling in line with the general trend seen across all countries in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). This is a common denomination involving most countries that used to belong to the former Soviet Union.

2 critical factors

Natalia Sonich, head of the ministry’s livestock industry intensification department said that Belarus managed to enhance the pig industry’s performance thanks to 2 critical factors:

  • building new modern pig farms; and

  • a rise in average yields.

Higher effectiveness

During the first 11 months of 2023, the average daily gain at pig farms stood at 661 grams. This was 48 grams higher compared to the previous year, she estimated.

The yields, however, strongly varied across the country. In Brest region, the average figure stood at 740 g, in Minsk region at 692 g, while at Gomel region this was 492 g. All regions, however, improved this figure in 2023. In comparison, Gomel region used to score levels of 326 g in 2022.


The Brest region has historically been the leader in terms of pig farm productivity, said Igor Sorokin, deputy chairman of the regional agricultural committee. Some modern farms achieve even higher figures. For example, the Brest Meat Processing Plant reported yields of 933 g. Advancing genetics is the main factor contributing to the rise in yields, the ministry added.


Belarus has been implementing a major pig industry reconstruction programme adopted in response to a protracted crisis. In the last 2 years, pig production in Belarus dropped by 12%.

Speaking during a government meeting in October 2023, the country’s president Alexander Lukashenko demanded the authorities to double their efforts to reverse a negative trend. Over 70% of pork in Belarus is manufactured at pig farms built more than 20 years ago, according to the ministry. Some of these complexes fail to modernise and have seen their output shrink.

14 new pig farms added to pig industry Belarus

By 2026, the Belarussian government intends to put 14 new pig farms in operation, hoping to push pork production up beyond 500,000 tonnes. That will help the country to raise the level of self-sufficiency in pork. At the moment, Belarus primarily imports pork from Russia. During the 1st half of 2023, the deliveries reached 20,000 tonnes, 38% up compared with the previous year.

Vladislav Vorotnikov Eastern Europe correspondent
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