The amount of pork products exported from Canada is expected to decline come calendar year 2011, according to an official with the Canadian Pork Council, or CPC.
“We’ve had about four or five shocks to our industry in the last five years, that includes the high Canadian dollar, for a while high feed prices due to biofuels competition for grain, we had H1N1, we had the worldwide recession…people lost a lot of money,” said Martin Rice, CPC executive director.
Rice said the Canadian pork industry has seen approximately one-quarter of its domestic production disappear since 2005. However, he estimated 2010’s year-end pork product exports will be slightly higher than 2009’s at 1.1 million tonnes versus 1,092,968 million. However, he also predicted that in 2011 that number will be around one million tonnes.
“We’ll be hard pressed, because our production is going down significantly… the combination of five years of miserable losses in the hog sector,” said Rice.
The U. S. is Canada’s biggest export destination for pork products by volume, Rice said. However, Japan is actually Canada’s largest export destination in value. In 2009 Canada exported 336,000 tonnes to the U. S., worth approximately $852 million; while exporting 228,000 tonnes to Japan, worth approximately $872 million, according to Rice.
Canadian pork products are also exported to other markets such as Korea, Mexico, Australia, China, and Taiwan, said Rice.
Mike de la Montche, project officer with Canada Pork International, says there are several factors that can affect shipment numbers, moving the volumes up or down, such as disease in other countries, currency exchange rates, as well as the quality and the price.
“Someone like Japan is very discerning in the quality of the products that they buy, so even though one is a little more expensive than another, if the quality and safety is higher then they might go with the other one.”
Despite all the different markets, Rice still expects the overall hog production in Canada will decrease, causing a ripple effect into less supply for export.