Skip to main content

Traceability – a key to export for pig farmers in Russia

By Sven Häuser, EPP

A conference for pig farmers organized by the DLG and EPP took place in Moscow on January 31, 2020. It was embedded in the technical program of Agros 2020, a new international DLG exhibition for animal and feed production in Russia, and was carried out in cooperation with the National Union of Pig Breeders. The conference highlighted traceability and transparency as a tool to secure export markets for pork.

Global markets and regional requirements

The growth of pig production and market saturation require new approaches from pig farmers to ensure food safety and to market their products at home and abroad. An important aspect that takes into account the peculiarities of the industry as well as the veterinary and hygiene requirements is ensuring traceability across the entire value chain - including the pig farms.

Russia's pig production has become very professional in the past 10 years. There are almost no backyard farms anymore and now the level of self-sufficiency is already over 100%, so that Russia has changed from a net importer to a net exporter. Time to take a look at foreign markets as well. Yury Kovalev from the National Pig Breeders Union represents over 90% of pig farmers in the country and assures: "This is only the beginning, not the end". Russia wants to act confidently as a competitor and has already opened up important markets in Asia with Vietnam and Hong Kong.

Understanding the global markets and their regional requirements is important in order to tailor the export perfectly, said Matz Beuchel from Rabobank. Therefore, transparency and traceability play an important role for him. He regards the increase in vegetable meat replacers as a challenge, which is a particular demand from the younger generation. However, the question is if this is just a “hype” or a “trend”.

Transparency and traceability

Ma Chuang, from Beijing Boyar Communication, brought the participants up to date on African Swine Fever (ASF). The Chinese government is keen to get production back to its original level by 2023 and maybe even beyond. Accordingly, all levers are currently in motion to implement this. China invests in efficient production facilities with high biosecurity standards, from which healthy, tasty and cheap pork is to be produced.

Traceability is an important tool with regard to complex, global flows of goods. Sven Häuser from the DLG Agricultural Center showed that it also a management tool which enables farm managers to optimize production. Sensors and technologies that generate a large amount of data already exist. It is now important to save these data centrally and evaluate it in real time in order to receive relevant information about the individual animal (e.g. health status, performance development) and the overall operation. Regardless of whether for companies in Russia, China or Europe: Before using the data, however, questions regarding data security and data sovereignty must be clarified.

End-to-end traceability ultimately helps to quickly and reliably carry out analysis in the entire value chain. So the final appeal was: "Open the black box, generate traceability and confidence!"