CANADA - The president of the National Pork Producers Council says the export market is key to adding to the value of North American pork production, writes Bruce Cochrane.
"International Pork Trade: Challenges and Opportunities" will be among the topics discussed this week as part of the 2015 Banff Pork Seminar.
Dr Howard Hill, the president of the National Pork Producers Council, notes the US became a net exporter of pork about 20 years ago, and today about one out of every four pigs produced in the US is exported.
Dr Howard Hill-National Pork Producers Council:
China is the big opportunity of course, and southeast Asia.
Russia as you well know is really out of the market right now for US and Canadian pork, and Brazil is backfilling that supply.
But our number one volume and value customer this year is now Mexico.
In the past Japan has always been our highest value total dollars, and Mexico has usually been the highest volume, but Mexico has imported a lot of ham this last year and they're now our number one value and volume.
I think the other thing though is that there's a lot of smaller markets that been working in that have been very productive, for example Columbia.
We've done a lot of work developing that market down there and our export sales have surpassed what we had anticipated.
We're not just looking at Japan or Mexico or Canada or any one big customer.
We're trying to develop some of these emerging pork markets also.
Dr Hill suggests the value of international trade is not just the pounds of pork sold.
He points out we have a quite a culinary diversity in this world so there's parts of the pig, like skin, tongue, feet, tail and bone that some of our international customers enjoy that we don't and that adds value to the whole carcass.
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