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It is often believed that world of tomorrow offers a larger global market for all animal proteins as increasing population size combines with the migration of people into towns and cities. This so-called urbanization is associated with an improved personal income, so that the consumer has a wider choice of foods.
Most developed-economy countries have had more than half of their population as urban residents for a century or more, but the 50-percent mark is now being reached or passed in places with an emerging economy, as well. It will certainly make a big difference to their consumption of meat, milk, eggs and fish.
However, the benefits will not be divided equally among all animal proteins in all locations. Pork, in particular, will gain only where its consumption is already acceptable to the local culture and religious beliefs. Even in these places, urbanization is also proving to have both negative and positive influences on the pork production of the area.
Positively, the consumption of pork products by people living in cities has increased because these products can be accessed more easily, and they have become more affordable.
Negatively, farms near towns have been forced to relocate by the outward spread of the urban zone accompanying the larger population. But, another drawback has the potential to be even more serious. With the departure especially of younger people to find jobs with better wages in a town, the farms now struggle to employ workers and find that their labor costs have escalated.
It is beginning to undermine the relative ability of regions or of whole countries to compete on production costs, and it has started to expose how their cheap labor previously hid deep failings in productivity.