Pork export Russia bounces back

Pork export Russia
Photo: AFP

Russian pig farmers have seen export supplies recovering in the past several months, after a slump in the first half of 2022. A piece of research conducted by the Russian Union of Pork Producers (RUPP) showed this. More Russian pork started to land on traditional markets of the post-Soviet countries, while supplies to Asia are still hindered by logistics challenges.

Russian pig farmers exported 130,000 tonnes of pork in the first 6 months of 2022, 25% lower compared the same period of the previous year. As of late October, foreign sales lag behind last year’s level only by 15%. This indicates that export slightly recovered. By the end of 2022, Russian is set to export 170,000 tonnes of pork, against 210,000 in 2021, RUPP said.

Indirect impact of the sanctions

A drop in export to Vietnam, Hong Kong and Ukraine – the key export markets for Russian pig farmers in the past few years were offset by a rise in supplies to Belarus and Kazakhstan, RUPP said, not providing any concrete data.

In the past months, several Russian business groups complained “about indirect impact of Western sanctions”, which prevented Russian agricultural products from reaching foreign customers. Russian companies experience difficulties in shipping their products by sea, and collecting payments for delivered goods.

Rising share of agricultural giants

In January-September, Russian industrial pig farms saw a 7.9% rise in output. By the end of the year, this segment could boost production by 8%, or 350,000 tonnes compared with the previous year, RUPP said. On the other hand, backyard farms and individual farms of the citizens experience a 10.8% and 12.2% rise, respectively. These combined production in these segments plummeted by roughly 37,000 tonnes.

In its previous reports, RUPP warned about problems with export and surplus on the domestic market, suggesting that a rise in export could be the only factor saving the Russian pig industry from big problems in 2022.

Consumption meets expectations

Russia keeps experiencing a rise in pork consumption. This is a trend that has been around for the past few years. Retail pork prices stay on the downward rally. In the first 9 months of 2022, Russia saw a 7.8% rise in demand for pork. This led to additional sales of 226,400 tonnes, RUPP reported. To some extent the extra sales are attributed to the panic buying. Some share of customers purchased pork in stock anticipating a shortage on the market.

As the Russian government abolished import duties on pork, import has tripled. It reached 13,000 tonnes in the first 9 months of 2022. At this level, import has no impact on the Russian pork market landscape.

Vladislav Vorotnikov Eastern Europe correspondent