Prospects for Expanded Pork Exports Cause for Optimism in 2020


Farmscape for December 23, 2019

Full Interrview 8:12 Listen

The Chair of Sask Pork says the prospect of increased pork exports to Asia to fill the void created by African Swine Fever is cause for optimism heading into 2020. Heading into 2020 the value of live hogs and the management of swine disease are expected to be foremost on the minds of Canadian pork producers. Casey Smit, the Chair of the Saskatchewan Pork Development Board, says 2019 turned out to be another interesting year.

Clip-Casey Smit-Saskatchewan Pork Development Board:
It started off with all kinds of anticipation of very strong pricing going forward in terms of what’s happened overseas with the loss of all the pig production in China and, quite frankly, it just never materialized as we had hoped. There was kind of a spurt back in the spring in terms of pricing and then unfortunately the Chinese banned Canadian pork due to some irregularities around some import documentation and so that played heavily on the market right up until they approved it again here at the end of November. Had that not happened I think that would have certainly put a different spin on the year for producers overall. As unfortunate as it was, we’re glad to see that we’re back on track again with exports able to go back to China. I think there’s still an expectation that, as we go into 2020, that with all of the talk about the amount of pork being produced, that still weighs on the market, that that’s going to get worked through, particularly in the U.S. But the opportunity that will present itself in terms of the export and how that will eventually drive prices up for producers, I think that’s probably one of the most anticipated positive things that we’ll be able to see in 2020. The amount that will be going there will be significant enough that it should improve pricing drastically.

Smit says the other interesting thing has been the attention paid to African Swine Fever and what’s encouraging is the amount of discussion taking place at a provincial level, at a national level and with the Canadian government.
He observes everybody has taken an interest in this and understands the risks while recognizing the opportunity going forward to produce product for export.

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