Pork production has been carried out in Brazil since the beginning of our civilization and its meat and lard has been used by the population since then, having originally shown greater dynamism in Minas Gerais State (Nunes, 1999). In the late nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century, with European immigration to the states of the South, pig production received a boost.
These immigrants, coming mainly from Germany and Italy, brought to Brazil their habits of producing and consuming pigs, and a pattern of industrialization by itself. Thus, as early as 1940, the Brazilian pig herd consisted of 23.8 million animals and represented three quarters of the pigs in South America. This production was concentrated mainly in the Brazilian Corn Belt (states of Rio Grande do Sul, Paraná, Minas Gerais and São Paulo).
Although pig production is concentrated in the states of the South, in recent years the expansion of pig farming in other regions has been evident, with growth in production and the installation of large slaughterhouses and processing plants in the Central West and Southeast regions. This migration has been driven by the search for raw material (corn and soyabean) for feed production, with the aim of reducing the cost of production. Besides, the available area for deposition of waste also drove this decision. The states of Santa Catarina (27.36%), Rio Grande do Sul (25.74%), Paraná (16.28%), Minas Gerais (10.09%), São Paulo (6.48%), Goiás (4.68%), Mato Grosso do Sul (3.87%) and Mato Grosso (2.97%) account for almost all the razilian pig production with federal inspection. In the North and Northeast regions pig production does not show signs of growth, as the scarcity and consequent high prices of inputs prevent the expansion of such activity.
According to the map of persistency of pig herds (Figure 2), between the years of 1975 and 2007 Brazilian pig production was concentrated in the South (yellow and blue areas), and more specifically in the northwest of Rio Grande do Sul, west of Santa Catarina and southwest of Paraná. New micro-regions of production are emerging in the central west, in Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul. The same trend has been observed in the state of Minas Gerais with emphasis in southern Minas Gerais, the metropolitan region of Belo Horizonte and Zona da Mata.
1. Nunes, E. M. 500 anos do Brasil, 500 anos de carne suína. Disponível em <http://www.abcs.com.br/tt500.html acessado em 6/11/2003.
By Santos Filho, J.I.; Bertol, T.M.
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Source: © CAB International 2010, Pig News and Information 31 (1), 1– 8