China’s pork producers can do without US soybean imports

06/08/2018

 

Soy is a vital product for the sustenance of Chinese pork production, which is the largest in the world

 

The trade war between China and the United States is already having its effects. Among the economies affected by the rise in prices for products imported into China, that of soybeans of the United States is an essential product to support the Chinese pork industry.

Given the difficulty, there are many Chinese farmers who are studying alternative ways to feed pigs. The SCMP, in an investigation, interviewed some of them. Among these, Li Xueya, responsible for feeding about 800,000 pigs in the largest Chinese province of pork production.

 

The increase is the result of China’s decision earlier this month to levy a 25 per cent tariff on imports of US soybeans

 

Li Xueya, head of the purchasing department of Xinda Muye, a farming company in the central province of Henan, said: “The trade war has disrupted our expectations and we don’t know when is good time to buy”.

Li estimated that the average pig farming business in China is facing an increase of up to 36 yuan (US$5.30) for raising one hog. Li also says that the impact can be minimised by changing the animals’ diets and looking for alternatives to soybean meal.

 

China imported a total of over 95 million tonnes of soybeans last year

 

More than 80 percent of Chinese soybeans come from abroad, with a third of the United States, and, to avoid economic damage to farmers, the Chinese government has said it will help farmers absorb the shock.

However, according to experts, there is no fear for the Chinese swine industry. Brazil, in fact, is replacing the United States as the first supplier of soy for China, and imports from Canada and Russia have increased rapidly between 2012 and 2017.

Ma Wenfeng, an analyst from Beijing Orient Agribusiness Consultant, said: “We can ensure normal consumption of soybeans even if we completely stop importing soybeans from the US amid the trade dispute. To use soybeans as a tool to fight back against the US’ tariffs will not lead to irreparable losses to domestic farmers.”

 

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