French pig meat market stable…
French pig meat production was stable in 2018 at 2.18 million tonnes (cwe), with 23.5 million pigs slaughtered. Pork imports grew by just over 1% to 295,000 tonnes product weight.
Spain remained the largest supplier, providing over 70% of imports, followed by Germany with 10% and Belgium and Denmark with 5% each. French exports of pork also grew by a modest 1% to 429,000 tonnes in the year. Over 100,000 tonnes went to Italy, with China the second biggest recipient at 47,000 tonnes, a slight decline compared to 2017. France exported 24,700 tonnes of fresh/frozen pork to the UK, according to French trade data, and over 9,000 tonnes of other value-added products including sausages. This was a decline compared to 2017 and in fact French value-added exports declined to most destinations last year.
From these figures, it’s clear the French pork industry is focused on its domestic market. According to FranceAgriMer, more than 50% of French production is turned into charcuterie products. Around a quarter, mainly loin, is sold fresh, and the other quarter is exported. Three quarters of French consumption is in the form of charcuterie products, the rest is fresh pork. Production of delicatessen products totals 1.2 million tonnes
French pig prices have been relatively robust recently, falling, but by less than those in the markets of its nearest neighbours.
As a net exporter, however small, the French market would be sensitive to the discovery of African Swine Fever within its borders. Although the majority of France’s pig production is concentrated in the west, the northern French border is very close to the Belgian outbreaks in wild boar. Over 500 infected wild boar have now been discovered in Belgium, with two cases found within 1km of the border with France. France has responded by creating a 141 km² "white area" surrounding the border, in which all wild boar have to be culled. A 60km electric fence has also been constructed, with further extension intended.
Duncan Wyatt, Lead Analyst
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