India and Viet Nam are bright prospects for increased Canadian pork exports, economist John Cranfield of the University of Guelph told the annual meeting of the Ontario Pork marketing board in Guelph recently.
Viet Nam, for example, has little land or ability to produce feed grains, yet is a major consumer of pork and that’s likely to increase as incomes continue to rise, he said.
India is also experiencing improved incomes and with that comes demand for meat protein, he said.
Nigeria, with 240 million people and a rapidly-increasing population, is another market prospect to which Canada should pay attention, he said.
Canada has the land, water and expertise to continue increasing pork exports, he said.
He praised the pork board for taking the initiative to address consumer concerns about animal welfare, the environment and sustainability and urged them to make sure Canadian consumers get the message.
He said competition is coming from plant-based proteins where the technology and costs are likely to keep improving, led by technology-savvy startups that later will be bought by large-scale producers such as Maple Leaf Foods which has built a large plant in Indiana.
That plant is not going to go away, he said, despite a slump in sales.
He also predicted competition will be coming from “cellular” meats produced in fermentation tanks from stem cells harvested from pigs.
He said much will depend on hog these competitors and pork producers position their products.
He urged the pork industry to join with governments and companies to strategize how to open markets in countries such as Viet Nam, India and Nigeria. Africa is the only continent that will continue to experience population growth, he said.
The rest of the world is in a decline in the population of people younger than 15 years, he said.
of Agriculture and AgriFood Canada briefed the meeting on trade negotiations, including current talks with the United Kingdom, the Trans-Pacific Partnership and countries applying to gain entry into that deal, and with India and the ASEAN association (10 countries) for Asia.
He said Canada’s strategy with the United Kingdom is to wait to see what happens to its application to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership and then to seek increased access for Canada to the U.K.’s agriculture and food markets.
When Stewart Cressman challenged him over the European Union’s ongoing demands that have stifled Canadian pork exports, he said Canada presented a report on carcass disinfection procedures and safety and the E.U. has said it will take it five years to evaluate that information.
He said the difficulty is the strong farmer lobby in member countries in the European Union. Stewart countered that the free trade deal that was signed in 2016 seems to be a “worthless piece of paper.”
He said Canadian imports of beef from Ireland surged as soon as the deal was signed.
He said Canada is maintaining a close watch on U.S. proposals to allow country of origin labeling of meat, eggs and poultry products, but so far it is for voluntary labeling which may not impact Canadian exports or prices.
Ottawa is also keeping a close watch on Proposition 12 in California that could force hog producers all across North America to transition out of confinement housing for sows.