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Published on: September 26, 2012
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Summary
If current trends in China’s pork production and industrialisation continue, corn imports could approach 20 million tonnes per year within a five-year time frame. This is one of the changes in the landscape of China’s pork industry that will have major reverberations on world markets.
Details

The pace and success of the industrialisation that is rapidly taking place across China’s pork sector will be a major determinant to whether China will move back towards self-sufficiency or become an even bigger importer. If China could improve its corn yields and swine feed conversions ratios towards US levels then goals of self sufficiency are achievable. 

If China does not have to import pork, it will need to import corn, and if current trends in China’s pork production and industrialisation continue, corn imports would rise significantly.

China has recently been importing over 0.4 million tonnes of pork per year, in a world market with trade of less than 7 million tonnes per year.  In Rabobank’s view,  China is likely to continue to be an importer of both pork and corn for the foreseeable future, but how much of each will depend on improvements in the supply chain. China’s pork supply chain is in transition period, shifting from traditional household farming to modern commercial systems.  While both farms and processing plants are growing rapidly in size, co-ordination between the two remains undeveloped. The pork supply chain is still based on the spot market in most cases.