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The future of the Spanish pork sector must be in internationalization

Spain covers 150% of its needs of pork meat, so that internationalization of the pig production sector seems the most logical way to a future solution to this excess production.

Spain is the third world exporter of pork meat after Germany, which is the leader, and the USA. The destination of these exports is, besides Europe, fundamentally Asia: China, Japan, Korea, Philippines, Hong Kong, etc.

Price crisis due to closure of the Russian market

With regard to the generalised fall in prices, the solution is more complex. Prices reached their high point in 2013 with an average price of 2.39 euro/kg. Analysing by countries, Japan leads in export prices and is the only country to have gone over 3 euro/kg. France, the principal European target for Spanish exports, remains above the average price.

Even so, the Spanish pork sector has suffered less from the fall in prices because, since the Russian veto, it has been the only European country to have increased its exports, especially to countries outside the EU.

Growth of exports in the pork sector

Between January and September 2015, exports of meat, pork offal and fats (to the EU and other countries) exceeded 1.11 million tonnes, a record figure which means growth of 14.5% with respect to the same period in 2014. In value, it reached €2,199 million, 5.5% more than in the first nine months of 2014.

In speaking of exports, the important role of cured products must not be forgotten since, for these, the value recorded in exports of cured hams and shoulders was €288 million (which means a rise of 14.5%), and for cured sausage €233 million (a rise of 17%).

These details give an account of the good moment for the sector, especially if we compare it with other sectors of the meat industry, which are seeing a continued fall in prices and foreign demand.

Future of the pork sector

However, “it is important to adapt to the markets to which we export and, above all, maintain the positive health status which allows us to continue exporting to those markets”, as Sergio Samper Rivas says, managing director of one of the principal meat groups in Spain.

In order to compete in the national market, the demystification of pork meat as "poor quality" now emerges as a priority, so that the sector can go on enjoying good status in the market.  And the campaignPork meat, our white meat” has been launched in this context. 

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