Brazil’s pig meat production will reach 3.5 million tons by the end of 2011, estimates the country’s producers and exporters association Abipecs, an increase of 4.9% in comparison with 2010 numbers. The increase is attributable to gains in productivity, a higher average slaughter weight in comparison to previous years and the renovation of out-of-date production facilities, the association says.

Brazil’s breeding herd currently stands at 2.48 million head, an increase of 0.6%, while the number of pigs slaughtered under the federal inspection system rose by 4.5% to 30.4 million head. Those pigs slaughtered under other inspection systems fell back to 2008 levels.

Sales to both the home market and overseas have continued strong, with local sales now accounting for 84.7% of production, compared to 83% in 2010. Exports, particularly to Asia, and most notably to Hong Kong, are continuing to grow. To October, exports to Hong Kong reached 107,500 tons, an increase of 32.42% in relation to the same period in 2010. In 2012, Sales to Hong Kong and China are expected to exceed those to Russia, currently Brazil’s number one export market. In October, sales to Russia fell by 83.77% in volume, while the amount sold to Hong Kong rose by 36.77%.