16 October 2020 – China’s pig herd may take up to five years to recover from the effects of African Swine Fever (ASF) and may never regain its former size, according to Justin Sherrard, Global Strategist for Animal Protein at Rabobank, who was speaking during a recent webinar hosted by Hamlet Protein.
“We think global production will increase in 2021 – this is largely a result of changes in China,” Sherrard said, adding that Chinese pork production is forecast to increase by 10-12% in 2021 but remain below 40m tonnes.
The recovery in the Chinese pig herd will be gradual and may take until 2024-25, he explained, with productivity improvements meaning that fewer sows and hogs will be needed in the future.
In addition, he noted, there has been a structural shift in Chinese consumption patterns towards beef and poultry.
China’s share of global pork imports has greatly increased in 2020, setting an annual record based on the January-August period alone. However, pork imports in 2021 are likely to see a decrease of around 1m tonnes, Sherrard said.
Elsewhere, Vietnam is recovering from the effects of ASF more quickly than had been anticipated, while the situation in the Philippines remains challenging.
Retail channels have done extremely well this year, but the recovery in foodservice will not happen quickly, according to Sherrard. This is based on the assumption that restrictions will remain in place until mid-2021 and there will be a structural shift in favour of homeworking.
“I think global pork could be moving into an oversupply situation in 2021”, Sherrard concluded, adding that this could lead to more intense competition in export markets alongside a stronger focus on local consumption and a greater emphasis on product quality.