A USDA report is predicting that China’s pork and beef imports will increase through 2008. According to a USDA agricultural attaché in Beijing, increases in pork and beef consumption in China continue to outstrip the country’s production capacity.

In a semi-annual report, the attaché said that the increased import projections were due to the worst snowstorms in 50 years during January and February and a slow recovery from porcine blue ear disease which have hampered livestock production in China.

The attaché forecast an 8 percent rise in pork imports in 2008 to 200,000 metric tons as well as a 6 percent decline in pork exports. The report put 2008 domestic pork production at 42 million metric tons, up 1 percent from 2007, but still 16 percent below 2005.

Chinese hog production continues to migrate from small backyard operations to huge commercial farms. It estimated 50 to 60 percent of backyard operations have left swine production while commercial farms have increased 20 percent in recent years.

The report said U.S.-based Whiteshire Hamroc Co. and China Tangrenshen Group in Hunan Province have signed a contract to import 2,000 breeding pigs for a large commercial hog development project. The attaché forecast a four-fold increase in China's beef imports to 30,000 metric tons due to increased demand, particularly around the Olympics in August. Some of that beef is expected to come from South America, since China has lifted its ban on four Brazilian states. To view the entire report, click here.

Source: Meatingplace.com