Top Pork Producing Countries, Top Pork Exporters & Importers: Global Pork Industry Factsheet 2020

top pork producing countries

The global pork industry has witnessed a growing demand for pig meat over the recent decades, despite the turbulence faced by the world’s top pork producing countries, top pork exporters and top pork importers. The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has reported that more and more pork is consumed in the work than any other terrestrial meat. Currently, around 39% of all meat consumed in the world is pork, totalling 110 million metric tonnes a year, ahead of beef and chicken, making pork the most consumed meat in the world. As the consumption of pork continues its steady growth around the world, the global pork industry is expected to have a stronger growth in the near future.

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Global Pork Industry Overview

Global pig meat production was about 115.6 million tonnes in 2019 according to FAO, a decline of 4% from previous year. Major declines in global pig meat output can be attributed to widespread outbreaks of African Swine Fever, particularly across Asian regions. With pork production in China anticipated to fall by at least 10%, opportunities for global growth are signalled. World trade in pig meat is forecast to increase 8% to 9.1Mt as China looks to raise its imports by over a quarter to meet domestic demand. As such, the US is forecast to raise production by 3.8% and increase its pig herd population to 10-year record levels.

As for the pork production in 2020, according the latest forecast from USDA, the global pork production is estimated down 10% this year due to the impact of African Swine Fever (ASF) on swine herds in several major producing countries. Most of the reduction in global production is due to a 25% decline in China pork production. Pork production is also lower in the Philippines (-16%) and Vietnam (-6%). South Korea has reported 14 cases of ASF thus far, but outbreaks have been contained and no production impact is expected at present. In Europe, weak domestic demand, ongoing ASF in some Member States, and environmental regulations are limiting expansion, but production is forecast 1% higher on strengthening exports. Most major pork exporters will boost production in 2020 due to rising global import demand. Production is up robustly in the United States (4%) and Brazil (5%).

Top Pork Producing Countries

Rank Country 2018 Production (1000 Metric Tons)
1 China 54,040
2 EU 24,300
3 US 11,942
4 Brazil 3,763
5 Russia 3,155
6 Vietnam 2,801
7 Canada 1,930
8 Philippines 1,602
9 South Korea 1,329
10 Mexico 1,321

Source: USDA

China has long been leading the chart of the world’s largest pork producing countries. In 2019, official notifications had confirmed 129 ASF outbreaks and the culling of more than 1 million pigs by. In addition to culling, in an effort to keep the spread in check, the Government is creating separate, self-sufficient zones and ban the cross-regional transport of animals and products. However, the continued relevance of backyard farming and the use of food waste as animal feed make controlling the spread extremely challenging. The transboundary spread of ASF to other countries in the region, with confirmed detections in Viet Nam, Mongolia and Cambodia, will make controlling the spread even harder. According to the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, by March 2019, the hog inventory had declined by 18.8%, and that of the breeding sow by 21% year-on-year. In view of these developments, China’s pork output was anticipated to fall by at least 10 percent in 2019, to 6 million tonnes.

The United States is the world’s third-largest producer and consumer of pork and pork products. USDA reports that the United States has been either the world’s largest or second largest exporter of pork and pork products over the recent years, with exports averaging over 20 percent of commercial pork production in most years. Currently, U.S. hog operations are heavily concentrated in the Midwest and in eastern North Carolina.

Top Pork Exporters

Rank Country 2018 Export Value
1 United States $4.6 billion
2 Germany $4.4 billion
3 Spain $4 billion
4 Denmark $2.6 billion
5 Canada $2.4 billion
6 Netherlands $2.1 billion 
7 Belgium $1.4 billion
8 Brazil $1.1 billion
9 Poland $1 billion 
10 France $891.5 million

Source: International Trade Centre

Global pork exports are forecast 10% higher to 10.4 million tons in 2020, as forecast by USDA. China imports are forecast 35% higher and account for 35% of global pork imports. The Philippines imports are also forecast 32% higher due to disease impact on domestic supplies. Outside of ASF affected countries, demand is expected to be muted by higher global prices. Many prices sensitive markets are expected to reduce imports of pork on strong competition from ASF affected buyers. EU exports are up 13% and Brazil up 20% mostly on growth in exports to Asia. In contrast, Canada’s exports are down slightly as restrictions from China limit opportunities for growth.

The EU remained a top pork exporter in the world by volume in 2019, with the bulk of its shipments going to Asia, namely China, Japan, the Republic of Korea and the Philippines. Notwithstanding the stagnation in production, a reliance on accumulated large meat stocks could allow the EU to expand its exports by 10% this year. Brazil is also one of the world’s largest pork exporters. The country may benefit from abundant export availabilities, improvements in the image of its meat quality, and increased or newly gained market access in the Philippines, the Republic of Korea, Viet Nam and South Africa.

Top Pork Importers

Rank Country 2018 Export Value
1 Japan $4.4 billion
2 Italy $2.1 billion
3 China $2.1 billion 
4 South Korea $1.7 billion
5 Germany $1.7 billion
6 Poland $1.7 billion
7 Mexico $1.4 billion
8 United States $1.3 billion  
9 United Kingdom $1.1 billion  
10 France $859.2 million

Source: International Trade Centre

Despite being ranked as the third largest pork importer by import value, China is in fact the world’s largest pork importer and pork consumer by volume. Due to the retaliatory tariffs, China has begun importing significant quantities of pork from the United States. China’s pork imports are forecast to increase by nearly 2 million tons in 2019, an increase of 35% compared to 2018, with increases in imports of all pork products. Currently, China is seeking alternative meat supplies for the millions of pigs that died due to African swine fever, which has increased the price, revenue and profits for European and South American pork exporters. According to China Customs, in the first nine months of 2019, China imported 1.33 million tons of pork valued at US$2.68 billion, up 43.6 percent in volume and 65.1 percent in value compared to 2018. Of which, Spain, Germany, Canada, Brazil and the United States are the top five major markets supplying pork to China.

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