Pork Market Impact of African Swine Fever in Poland

EU - The recent discovery of African Swine Fever in Poland has the potential to impact significantly the European pig meat market.
calendar icon 19 February 2014
clock icon 4 minute read

Poland is a much more important player in the EU pork market than Lithuania, where the African Swine Fever virus was discovered in January.

Despite recent declines, Poland was the fourth largest EU producer of pig meat last year, producing 1.7 million tonnes or about eight per cent of EU production.

It is also a major trader (imports and exports) of pork, processed pig meat and live pigs.

The location of the case is in the Podlaskie region, in the East of Poland, very close to the border with Belarus. Although the main concentration of pig production in Poland is further west, in 2013 there were over 340,000 pigs, including around 30,000 sows in the region. Therefore, even regional restrictions would have a significant impact on the Polish industry. However, far more significant would be any restrictions on Polish trade.

Poland is the seventh largest exporter of pork in the EU and the third largest importer. It is also the third largest exporter of sausages and the second largest exporter of other processed pig meat. It is the second largest EU importer of live pigs. Details of Polish trade are provided below. All of this means that any restrictions on exports (or imports) have the potential to cause major disruptions to the EU market - over and above those already caused by the Russia ban on EU imports.

The scale and impact of any disruption will depend on the nature of any trade restrictions. If all Polish exports are stopped, this might actually provide a boost to producers elsewhere in the EU, since it will remove significant quantities of pork from the EU market. This might help to offset the excess supply following the Russian ban, particularly if processors elsewhere require additional supplies to allow them to fill any gap in supplies of processed products.

Conversely, if the outbreak leads to other non-EU markets restricting imports of EU pork then it could accelerate the price falls already seen in response to the Russian ban. However, there has thus far been no sign that other countries are planning such a move.

Polish pig meat and pig trade statistics (January-November 2013)
(Source: Eurostat)
FRESH/FROZEN PORK Volume (tonnes)
Total 552,900
Germany 163,700
Denmark 121,000
Belgium 120,300
UK 26,000
Total 398,500
EU total 199,600
China 47,200
Italy 39,600
Belarus 36,000
Russia 32,800
UK 4,900
BACON/HAM Volume (tonnes)
Total 27,200
UK 25,100
SAUSAGES Volume (tonnes)
Total 6,000
Germany 3,600
Total 52,300
EU total 47,900
UK 13,400
Germany 5,400
Lithuania 5,200
Total 3,900
Germany 3,400
Total 61,300
EU total 44,100
Sweden 12,800
US 7,700
Ukraine 5,700
UK 3,800
Imports (weaners)
Total 3,428,000
Denmark 2,337,000
Netherlands 500,000
Imports (Finisher pigs)
Total 1,176,000
Germany 815,000
Lithuania 236,000
Total 98,000
Hungary 53,000

Further Reading

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