In its latest forecast, the USDA has revised China pigmeat imports down a further 1.4m tonnes compared with its April forecast. This means that China is now expected to import just 2.150m tonnes of pigmeat in 2022, 2.1m tonnes or just half of what they imported in 2021 and over 3m tonnes less than they imported in 2020.

Despite this collapse, China remains the world’s main importer of pigmeat, but while it accounted for 42% of pigmeat traded globally in 2020, this share will drop to 20% in 2022. The next largest importer is Japan, which is forecast to take 1.475m tonnes and Mexico is third, taking 1.250m tonnes.

There are no global markets that can absorb the levels of pigmeat no longer required by China and USDA is forecasting that the global pigmeat trade will fall 13% in 2022. This has created huge problems for pig producers in major exporting regions, as Irish pig producers are well aware of.

“I want the PGI for grass-fed beef to be of real benefit to the suckler and beef farmers on the island [of Ireland]”

Minister McConalogue announcing that PGI application would include Northern Ireland