An overview of pork production and consumption in China

The Chinese swine industry is the main pig producer and its pig production sector breeds as many pigs as the rest of the countries in the world together. In the last years, the average intake of meat, especially pork, continues increasing and China needs to import pork products to cover the growing demand of this populated country. In general, China is improving industry and the country is moving towards self-sufficience.

In rural regions, there was a much higher pork intake, where traditional farms are still present with a large number of facilities. Those poor-quality farms share market with the more professional ones. As Kolb states:

Most traditional farms have a factory look and have buildings that were designed for manufacturing purposes, making them very difficult to ventilate. The layout was simply copied from other industrial facilities to save costs. Larger and more professional pork producers are seeking out Western input. Facilities and pig flow are improving in the modernizing parts of the industry.

In the last decades, China is modernizing fast and the same is happeing with the main pig producers. However, these still represent a small percentage of the total pig production of the country.

Apart from out-dated facilities, China faces a huge challenge regarding animal health.

The country has suffered important outbreaks of pig diseases such as porcine endemic diarrhea in 2010, pseudorabies in 2013, a highly pathogenic PRRS or the feared African Swine Fever detected in 2018. All those diseases caused many losses in the pig sector, which forced the improvement of pig production management and biosecurity.

Moreover, there are some endemic swine diseases such as hog colera, that cohabit with many others as Classical swine fever or Foot-and-mouth disease and even with bat-associated coronavirus.

In the poor-quality facilities, the impact of outbreaks is aggravated by staff with limited access to professional practices and lack of laboratories specialized in diagnosis.

A correct use of antibiotics is another challenge for the pig sector in China.

Nowadays, antibiotic resistance generated by misusing of antimicrobials is a public health concern worldwide.

“There will be systems in China that will compete with the best producers in the world”, says Kolb.


Yuna He, Xiaoguang Yang, Juan Xia, Liyun Zhao, Yuexin Yang. Consumption of meat and dairy products in China: a review. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society. 2016. 75, pp. 385-391. http://DOI:

Sun RQ, Cai RJ, Chen YQ, Liang PS, Chen DK, Song CX. Outbreak of porcine epidemic diarrhea in suckling piglets, China. Emerg Infect Dis. 2012.



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