Pig Trade export figures drop but imports rise to pre-Brexit levels

Pig Trade export figures drop but imports rise to pre-Brexit levels

The latest report from the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) paints a picture of how the pig trade is evolving in 2022, with export figures experiencing a decrease and imports growing 20% year-on-year.

UK exports of pigmeat (excluding offal) totalled 24,400 tonnes in March 2022, up 23% from February, but down 3% on the same time last year, new figures from ADHB show.

This brings the Q1 2022 total volume to 62,300 tonnes, 15% higher than Q1 2021 due to exports being much lower than usual in January and February 2021 as a result of the UK’s exit from the EU.

The main driver for the year-on-year drop in exports in March is the reduction of Chinese imports. In March 2022, the UK exported 46% (5,300 tonnes) less pigmeat to China than in 2021. China has been rebuilding its own pig herd following the ASF outbreak, reducing its need for imported product.

Offal exports totalled 14,700 tonnes in March, an increase of 32% on February and up 19% on March 2021. This makes the 2022 Q1 total volume of exported offal to 34,200 tonnes, up 11% on Q1 2021.

UK imports up 20% on 2021

UK imports of pigmeat (excluding offal) totalled 71,500 tonnes in March 2022, down only 200 tonnes from February, up 20% from the same time last year. This takes the total imports in Q1 to 224,000 tonnes, in line with the pre-pandemic and pre-Brexit levels of 2019.

Although import volumes are similar, the makeup of products has changed. Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit, bone-in products were imported in larger volumes than boneless, in 2021 and 2022 this has switched.

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