Russia plans to make the list of the top-5 pork exporters in the world in the next 10 years, according to Yuri Kovalev, general director of the Russian Union of Pork Producers (RUPP).
At the union’s annual meeting in Moscow, Kovalev shared his belief that this ambitious goal is within grasp as Russian pig farmers managed to boost pork export by 35% to 40% during the first half of 2023. To some extent, the positive dynamic could be attributed to a low base effect, Kovalev said. He referred to a slump in sales to foreign customers in the second quarter of 2022 due to the logistics chaos triggered by Western sanctions against the Russian banking and transport sector.
Several factors contributed to the growth in pork export this year, including improving conditions in the global pork market and the weakening of the rouble. The national currency tumbled past 89 against the dollar to a 15-month low on June 30.
What drives the rouble down is not entirely clear. Local financial analysts mention domestic political risks associated with aborted mutiny and lowering oil and gas revenues as the main factors to blame.
Our pork has become some of the cheapest in the world
Thanks to the weak domestic currency, Russian exporters could earn more roubles from selling pork to foreign customers. This comes in handy, especially since on the domestic market, the average price of pork in half carcasses has recently dived below 172 roubles (US$ 1.93) per kg. This makes pork cheaper on the Russian market than poultry. Kovalev stated that this situation is temporary, admitting that the systemic decline in pork prices continues. “Our pork has become some of the cheapest in the world.” He added that this creates perquisites for further export and domestic consumption growth.
In 2023, Russia expects to export 220,000 to 230,000 tonnes of pork earning $ 450 million. Within the region of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), supplies are growing to Belarus, while outside the post-Soviet space, Vietnam nearly doubled its import of Russian pork. To enter the list of the top-5 largest pork producers, Russia will need to double export, Kovalev said.
He expressed confidence that this task is achievable since Russian pig farmers could expand their share in the market of Hongkong and Vietnam, and establish supplies to the Philippines and China in the coming years, which together import roughly 3 million tonnes of pork per year.