The UK pig industry is close to tying up direct trade with China, where several customers have already expressed interest in buying anywhere between 10 and 100 containers of specific “fifth quarter” products, such as heads, ears, intestines, or tails, per month.

This follows a recent British trade delegation, which was organized by the British Pig Executive and included the country’s top four pork processors (Tulip, Vion, Cranswick and Woodheads), to the China International Meat Industry Exhibition in Beijing. “The interest in UK pig meat is phenomenal and we met some serious buyers who are extremely keen to do business at good prices with the UK,” said BPEX International Manager Peter Hardwick. “Good market potential is there, because while China has significant domestic production capabilities, it still does not have enough to feed its whole population and the prices are rising — up to 20% over the past 12 months in some cases — so our products will be very competitive." According to Hardwick, those involved are waiting for final approval on health certificates before exporting can begin.

Britain is also optimistic about increasing its exports of genetics to China, said BPEX head of export Jean-Pierre Garnier. “China produces and consumes about half the world’s pork and, over the next 10 years, the Chinese pig sector will undergo a fundamental revolution," said Garnier. "It is vital for the UK pig breeders, the leaders in this field, to accompany the Chinese industry in this transformation."