New dimension or a paradigm shift?

On 31 March 2023, Guillaume Burset published an interesting article on regarding the current paradigm shift occurring in Europe, and most notably in Spain.

He says that this is a unique time for European pig farming, to such an extent that a real change in thinking is taking place. In effect, the continuous losses in recent years have led to the ongoing abandonment of the finishing pig business in Central Europe. All countries, without exception, are announcing major reductions to their herds. In Spain, we see that in 2022 there were 1,7 million fewer pigs slaughtered than in 2021.

For a few years now, the EU’s level of self-sufficiency has been around 125%. With the reductions (structural in Central Europe, circumstantial in Spain), it is likely that this level of coverage will only be 110% in 2023. It so happens that the EU is permanently in surplus of some items and there has been a significant imbalance of others. Burset believes that there is no doubt that the specific weight of Spain in the European pig industry is increasing and will continue to do so.

A great wave of concern (and bewilderment) is sweeping across Europe, with varying nuances depending on the territory:

  • In Germany, less than 740 000 pigs are being slaughtered a week, compared to over a million week three years ago.
  • In France, eight consecutive weeks with maximum increases have put all stakeholders under pressure.
  • In Denmark, a herd decrease of more than 10% has been announced for this year.
  • In the Netherlands, many dams have been slaughtered and piglets are being sold at stratospheric prices (well over €100 or R2 000 per head).
  • In Italy, the few remaining pigs are priced on a live basis at over a whopping €2,20 (R44,40) per live kilogram.

Click here to read this in-depth article published on 31 March 2023.

The South African Pork Producers’ Organisation (SAPPO) coordinates industry interventions and collaboratively manages risks in the value chain to enable the sustainability and profitability of pork producers in South Africa.