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The Portuguese cattle and pig sectors are restructured

According to Eurostat, Portugal’s total swine beginning stocks in 2020 increased by 2.2 percent compared to the previous year. At the same time, total slaughter declined 4.6 percent to 5.3 million head due to the strong Portuguese live swine exports to Spain, as Portugal’s swine sector is very dependent on the Spanish market. As a result, Portuguese pork production decreased 2.2 percent to 358,000 tons of pork. Although Portuguese households increased pork meat consumption during the COVID-19 pandemic, this was not enough to compensate for the loss in volume and value of consumption through the restaurants, hotels, and institutions (HRI) sector.

Portuguese Livestock Works to Increase Meat Self-Sufficiency to Meet Demand According to the Portuguese pork industry, since June 2021, Spain has reduced its live hog imports due to the decline in Chinese pork demand, increasing pressure on the pork meat market in the Iberian Peninsula. With less domestic pork consumption and more Spanish meat supply, the Portuguese slaughterhouses were unable to maintain the growth rate in 2021 as initially predicted by the Portuguese pork sector. Portuguese official data shows a stable swine slaughter and pork production from January to October 2021, compared to the same period of the previous year.

Portuguese piglet producers were strongly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the closure of the hospitality sector. For this reason, the Portuguese industry expected a decline in piglet slaughter in 2021 but compensated for it by an increase in hog slaughter. Carcass weight continued to be as high as in 2020, due to the reduction of piglet production, resulting in around 361,000 tons of pork.

Portugal is not self-sufficient in pork, as its domestic pork production meets 86 percent of its domestic pork consumption. Thus, Portugal is still a net importer of pork, although its import trend has declined in the last years. In 2020, Portugal’s pork imports stood at 123,000 MT CWE, valued at $382 million, which were mainly sourced from the EU, and mostly from Spain.

Additionally, the Portuguese swine industry expects to continue its growth in pork exports to China. In January 2019, Portugal finally opened the Chinese market for Portuguese frozen pork and swine offal (see GAIN SP1914 and GAIN SP1936). In 2020, Portugal’s total pork exports continued to grow another 31 percent to 64,812 CWE and were valued at $158 million, mainly due to the strong jump in exports to China (see GAIN Report) (see Chart 3). In 2020, Portuguese pork exports to China grew 278 percent and were valued at $65 million, becoming the biggest export market for

Portuguese pork and surpassing total pork exports to the EU. However, during the first ten months of 2021, total Portuguese pork exports declined five percent because of lower Chinese pork demand. Other Portuguese pork markets outside the EU (namely Spain) are Angola, the UK, Japan, and Switzerland.

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