The internal and external market of Brazilian Pork
Until the 1970’s pig farming was a dual purpose activity. The most important demand was the fat used for the preparation of food, followed by meat for consumption. From the 1970’s onwards, it the emergence and dissemination of vegetable oil, there was less interest in the production of pigs for fat, with fat being almost completely eliminated from the diet of the Brazilian population. To cope with this change in eating habits, our pigs have undergone great genetic and technological transformation (improvements in the quality of food, health control, and facilities management), and since then have lost fat and gained lean meat.
However, these changes in genetics and production systems of pigs are not yet fully perceived by Brazilian consumers. This fact, coupled with the prejudices surrounding the effect of pork on human health (popular perception that pork is bad for health) made pork consumption in Brazil remain stagnant in the 1980’s and 1990’s.
Nevertheless, the 1980s, in addition to the problems just mentioned, were marked by the macroeconomic crisis in the Brazilian economy (high inflation and balance of payments deficit), that resulted in a negligible increase in the income of Brazilian consumers. Due to the problems mentioned, the market demand for pork only presented a significant growth from the mid-1990s. This was induced by a fall in the price of this product and by the actions taken by pig farmers, who, in the late 1990s created a fund for the promotion and dissemination of pork and its derivatives. The actions taken were directed towards the presentation of the product in supermarkets and to the dissemination of information on the benefits of the product through advertisements on television, in an attempt to eliminate the myths concerning pork consumption.
From 2004 to 2007 the per capita consumption of pork in Brazil showed a slight increase, from 11.9 kilograms in 2004 to 13.0 kg in 2007. In 2007, of the 3.00 million tons produced, 76% was for the domestic market and 24% was for export, demonstrating the great potential for absorption of meat by the domestic market.
In regional terms the highest per capita consumption occurs in the municipalities of the states of the South Region (Figure 3). Municipalities with intermediate consumption are located in the states of Minas Gerais, Rondônia, and part of São Paulo. The North and Northeast regions are characterized by the lowest consumption of pork.
Due to the highly competitive costs and the constant improvements made in the health of Brazilian herds, Brazilian pork and its derivatives have grown into a world market. From contributing a negligible share in the twentieth century (in 1999 exports totaled only 80 million tons), Brazil is currently the 5th largest net exporter (exports-imports), with 606 million tons of products of porcine origin, and is below only the United States, Denmark, Spain and Canada.
The major importers of Brazilian pork have remained the same for more than five years. The difficulty of the Brazilian health authorities to certify production continues to deny Brazilian pork a bigger place in the world market. What has changed is the contribution of each and in 2007 was no different, except for a decrease in the relative importance of the Russian market and a significant expansion of sales to Asian countries.
The main buyers of Brazilian pork in 2007 were Russia (45%), Hong Kong (18%), Ukraine (9%) and Singapore (5%). Worldwide, the largest importers of pork in 2007 were Japan, Russia, South Korea, United States, Mexico and Hong Kong and together were responsible for 86% of all pork consumed in the world. Thus, among the major importers, Brazil has significant sales only to Russia and Hong Kong.
Besides the factors mentioned, in recent years pig production has played new roles such as energy supply and carbon sequestration. These are functions that go beyond the boundaries of the farm and the consumer of animal protein, and give a new dimension to the domestic pig.
By Santos Filho, J.I.; Bertol, T.M.
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Source: © CAB International 2010, Pig News and Information 31 (1), 1– 8