According to a report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Poland faces a historical drop in its swine inventory resulting from an inefficient production structure acerbated by high feed costs. In December 2012, swine inventories totaled to 11.1 million head, a 15 percent drop in comparison to the same period of previous year. The contraction of the national swine herd started shortly after Poland’s EU accession and steadily continued but for a short break in 2009/2010. Within the last six years swine numbers have decreased by over 40 percent. Inventories of sows in December 2012 totaled to 1,012,000 head, a ten percent decrease in comparison to the December 2012 figure.
In 2012, average annual per capita consumption of pork amounted to 40 kilograms compared to 26 kilograms of poultry meat and 2,2 kilograms of beef. In 2013 consumption of pork is expected to decrease because of lower domestic output, rising retail prices and substitution by cheaper poultry meat. The Polish consumers’ preference towards pork will stimulate imports of cheaper products and will encourage the government to introduce measures supportive of the industry.
Poland is a net importer of pork and live pigs as a result of its declining bred sow population. The shortage of piglets is stimulating imports to rise and mainly from Denmark. In 2012, imports of piglets are estimated at 3.55 million head (over 30 percent increase compared to the previous year). Rising imports of piglets is forecast to continue in 2013 due to high prices on the domestic market coupled with ongoing consumer demand for pork.
In 2013, Polish exports of pork are expected to grow mainly to third countries while sales within the EU market are expected to stabilize. It is expected that in 2013, for the first time, exports to third markets will equal those to the EU market. In the first ten months of 2012, exports of pork and pork products to Ukraine and Japan increased by 50 and 45 percent, respectively, in comparison to the same period of previous year. In 2012, Poland initiated exports of pork to China (10,000 MT in the first ten months of 2012).
Friday February 8, 2013/ FAS-USDA/ United States.