Putin promises Russian pig farmers help in breaking into the Chinese market

China pork
Russian pork exports will rise by 0.5 million tonnes per year if the Chinese market is opened. Photo: Bert Jansen

Russian President Vladimir Putin said he is confident that Russia will eventually reach an agreement with China on pork exports to the country.

Russian pork exports will rise by 0.5 million tonnes per year if the Chinese market is opened, Sergey Novikov, general director of the Russian group of companies Agropromcomplektatsya told Putin during a meeting last week, as quoted in a statement on the Kremlin’s website.

The deal would secure additional revenue of $ 1 billion for the Russian pig industry, Novikov estimated, admitting that despite the extensive negotiations, no progress had been recently seen on this issue.

ASF is a stumbling block

“We are aware that the government, the Russian Agricultural Ministry, and Rosselhoznadzor work on this problem, but to date, we failed to move forward in this question,” Novikov said, explaining that China justified the existing import restrictions with the African swine fever (ASF) epidemic still raging on the Russian territory.

“At the same time, a year ago, China signed an agreement with France on the recognition of its regionalisation system. This means that if ASF ever gets to France, China will not stop port exports from France. Therefore, today we must also ask and convince China to recognise our regionalisation system. This is very important for us, pig farmers,” Novikov told Putin.

122 ASF outbreaks in Russia

In early November, Rosselhoznadzor reported that Russia had registered 122 ASF outbreaks since the beginning of the year, of which 65 were at pig farms. Several industrial farms have been hit by the virus this year, triggering mass culls.

Progress is promised

Putin, in turn, said that Russia is in contact with the Chinese side on this problem. “They know our position; we know their position. We will work calmly, rhythmically, and I am sure that we will come to an agreement,” he said.

The Russian President also pointed out that the Russian veterinary services managed to convince the Chinese side to open the country to Russian poultry and beef exports. In 2021, China was the largest importer of poultry meat, purchasing nearly 50% of the Russian broiler meat sold to foreign customers, according to official statistical data.

Russian meat exports

In total, Russian meat exports are expected to reach 550,000 tonnes this year, worth $ 1.5 billion, Putin estimated. In 2021, Russia exported 533,000 tonnes of meat, 2.8% up compared with the previous year. Exports reached $ 1.2 billion in monetary terms, climbing by 32% from the previous year’s level.

Join 18,000+ subscribers

Subscribe to our newsletter to stay updated about all the need-to-know content in the pigsector, three times a week.
Vladislav Vorotnikov Eastern Europe correspondent