In China, they eat pork

Danish investors hope to cash in on the rise in Chinese pork consumption by sending pigs and establishing farms

The Chinese appetite for pork is the largest in the world, accounting for roughly one half of worldwide consumption.

With Danish exports of food and agricultural products to China making up more than half of the total value of products sent out of the country, live Danish pigs will soon be joining the already-rendered pork products headed to China.

Danish investors are spending one billion kroner to establish four pig farms in eastern China that will be filled with Danish stock being raised in accordance with Danish environmental standards and animal welfare requirements.

The first farm is already under construction. IFU, an investment fund for developing countries, is working with the agricultural companies Scandinavian Farms Pig Industries and DanBred to finish and stock the first farm and build the remaining three. They are also investing in a breeding farm to supply piglets to the Chinese farms.

The first 600 Danish breeding sows – the nucleus for the production of thousands of animals to sell to large Chinese industrial farms – were flown to a farm in eastern China in February.

"The need for pig production in China is huge,” DanBred head Thomas Muurmann Henriksen told Berlingske newspaper. “Our intention is to expand the first farm to 1,600 sows over the next year, and if we can raise the funds, we would like build five or six more farms over the next five or ten years.”

One of the goals of the Danish pork consortium is to provide high quality, safe pork to the Chinese people at premium prices.

“Chinese customers are willing to pay more for meat that is raised under the proper conditions, especially after all of the food scandals that have happened here in recent years,” Jørgen Lindberg, the head of the export project, told Berlingske.

In March, 46 people in China were sentenced to up to six and a half years in prison for processing and selling meat from diseased pigs.

Lindberg said that the new farms will adhere to Danish quality standards.

China produces 700 million pigs annually, so the Scandinavian Farms aim of producing half a million pigs each year, while large by Danish standards, is tiny when compared to what the giant Chinese-owned industrial pig farms produce.

The growth into China comes in the wake of huge successes by investors in farms in countries like Poland, Lithuania, Russia and Slovakia.

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