Romanian pork consumption still lower than EU average

Romanians cite pork meat as one of their "five a day" most important foods, but although the meat is popular, the actual consumption statistics tell a somewhat different story.

Charles Thompson | freeimages.com
Charles Thompson | freeimages.com

Romanians cite pork meat as one of their "five a day" most important foods, but although the meat is popular, the actual consumption statistics tell a somewhat different story. Pork accounts for more than half the total annual meat consumption per capita in Romania, making it the clear favorite among all the meat choices. However, the consumption rate of 29.1 kg per capita recorded in 2015 is well below the European average of 40.9 kg per head in the same year.

According to the last recorded figures from 2015, the Austrians consumed the highest amount of pork in Europe at 56.4 kgs per head closely followed by the Czechs at 45.6 kgs per head. Incidentally the lowest consumption of pork recorded that year in selected EU states was in the U.K. with a consumption rate of only 24.5 kgs per head. Romania is home to over 4.7 million pigs, of which 361,200 are breeding sows, as per 2016 data. Total pig numbers that year fell by just over 4.4 percent, or 219,200 head, and breeding sows were down by 3.6 percent, or 13,400 head. There are a number of breeds of pigs used on Romanian farms including indigenous breeds such as Mangaliţa, Bazna, Albul de Banat and Albul de Ruşeţu, as well as imported breeds, such as Landrace, Pietrain, Duroc and Large White.

Pressure on pig farmers to make a profit in Romania is immense as the costs of production have soared in recent years.

Pressure on pig farmers to make a profit in Romania is immense as the costs of production have soared in recent years, pushing the small pig farmer out of business. There are indeed quite a number of large pig farmers with over 200 sows in the country, which the state had proposed to pay EUR10,000 each to assist them in keeping the business running. However, the EU said this went against its regulations as it was the body to decide about compensation payouts.

Trading crisis

The Romanian pig industry was hit hard when Russia introduced the trading embargo against food imports from Europe. Figures from the Romanian Pork Producers Association (Asociatia Producatorilor de Carne de Porc din Romania, or APCPR), say the country was suffocated by pork imports from Europe at very low prices forcing the home producers to sell below costs. Pork imports increased by 9.5 percent in 2014, as compared to 2013 and by 11 per cent in 2015, compared to 2013.

In 2015 to 2016, pork imports increased by 46,000 tons as compared to 2013; therefore, that year, Romania spent about EUR343.6 million on the imported pork. From 2015 to 2016, the pig farming sector registered a loss of EUR75.8 million. Romania was banned to export live pigs in 2007 when it was hit by classical swine fever, but the doors to the EU opened again in October 2016 after it had been free of the disease for almost ten years. This year, in May, Romania was granted the status of a country free of classical swine fever by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

The Chinese owned Smithfield Prod is the largest producer of pigs in Romania and operates the most modern slaughterhouse there with a processing capacity of 600 heads per hour. Smithfield Prod is based in Timisoara, in Freidorf Slaughterhouse and produces fresh pork meat and semi processed pork meat under Comtim brand.

Top 10 largest swine producers in Romania:

  1.  Smithfield Prod
  2.  Premium Porc
  3.  Tebu Braila
  4.  Palota
  5.  SC Agrisol International SRL
  6.  Suinprod Roman
  7.  SC Fermeplus SRL
  8.  Nutricom - 60,000 heads
  9.  Landbruck - 50,000 heads
  10. SC Europig Sercaia SRL

Top five pig feed mills or nutrition companies in Romania:

  1. Smithfield Prod
  2. Premium Porc
  3. Tebu Braila
  4. Palota
  5. SC Agrisol International SRL

Top three genetics being used in Romania:

  1. PIC
  2. DanBred
  3. Topigs

total pig livestock in Romania

number of animals slaughtered in Romania

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