2012 Italian pork meat production is expected to stagnate at 1.6 MMT following the trend in slaughtering.
Italian farms rearing swine have been going through difficulties for the last few years due to: market fragmentation (many small farmers in the market are not able to cooperate and to concentrate the supply in order to gain bargaining power), lack of valorization of fresh meat cuts and growing input costs (feed, fuel, etc.),
Unlike other EU-27 countries, Italy mainly focuses its’ piglet production on heavy weight swine (around 85% of total Italian slaughtering are pigs between 130 and 180 kg) in order to produce prosciutto (dry cured ham obtained from the pig’s hind legs) and other processed meat food. However, this kind of production implies higher costs for farmers, especially feedings costs and other costs associated with a longer cycle. According to a recent survey, fattening pigs in Italy costs 9 percent more than in Germany and 22 percent more than in Denmark, where the average slaughtering weight is 120 and 107 kg respectively. Most of the farms are located in the North of Italy, mainly in the river Po Valley.
According to preliminary figures, in 2011 Italian pig production dropped by 5 percent to less than 13 million head, mainly due to a reduction in the number of the light pigs reared. The number of slaughtered swine is estimated to fall by 3 percent, accordingly. Given the weakening supply, swine prices have gradually increased for the last few months slightly enhancing farms’ profitability. However, despite the current price increase, 2012 swine production will likely stagnate as reported in September.
Swine imports figures have been revised upward since the last update. Reportedly, Italy will import more than 1.1 million head in 2012 after the significant increase occurred in 2011 due to the domestic production decline. Italy is a net live swine importer with more than 1 million head imported in 2011. The Netherlands, Denmark, Spain, and Germany are Italy’s major suppliers. On average, 60 percent of the Italian live swine imports are made of young piglets (less than 50 kg) to be fattened while the remainders are live swine destined to slaughtering.
The Italian pork meat industry expects MY 2012 production to stagnate at 1.6 MMT following the trend in slaughtering. MY 2012 Italian pork meat consumption is expected to stagnate at around 2.75 MMT. Recent surveys state that Italians consume every year around 18.8 kg each of processed pork meat (prosciutto, salami, etc.) and 12.9 kg of fresh pork meat.
Pork meat trade
Italy is a net importer of fresh pork meat, and a net processed pork meat exporter. Italy has been increasingly importing fresh meat in order to meet the growing domestic demand. Fresh pork meat imports increased also in 2011 to offset the decrease in the Italian output, and are expected to remain stable in 2012 driven by the domestic supply and demand setback. Germany, the Netherlands, France, Spain, and Denmark are Italy’s main fresh pork meat suppliers, though Poland and Hungary are also performing well in the Italian market.
Tuesday January 24, 2012/ FAS-USDA/ United States.