Agência para o Investimento e Comércio Externo de Portugal


The Portuguese slaughterhouse Maporal on Tuesday closed the sale of 100 containers of pork to China, as the Asian country faces severe outbreaks of swine fever, which have decimated millions of animals.

The import of the 100 containers will cost around €7.5 million to the Zhuhai Import Frozen Foodstuffs Association, a company based in Zhuhai, a city bordering Macau, said Marco Henriques, the commercial director of Maporal.


The Chinese importer plans to buy a total of between 400 and 500 containers, by the end of 2020, the source told Lusa.


"We are trying to make a partnership to cover a larger area in the South [of China] and increase trade with Macau," he explained.

Pork is an essential part of Chinese cuisine, accounting for 60% of the total consumption of animal protein in the country.


According to official data, Chinese consumers eat 55 million tonnes of pork per year.


But analysts predict that the country will produce 130 million fewer pigs this year, about a third of its production in 2018, due to outbreaks of swine fever across the Chinese continent.


Scarcity and interruptions in supply chains in China caused a rise in the price of pork of almost 159% in October, year-on-year, and are implying a reorganisation of protein markets and increase in prices worldwide.


Since the end of last year, the Chinese authorities have authorised the Portuguese slaughterhouses Maporal, ICM Pork and Montalva to export to the country.


The license covers the entire carcass of the animal and parts already boned and prepared, except for the extremities - the head and legs - whose approval should be completed by the end of this year.


However, products with greater added value, such as sausages and ham, remain prohibited.


The Portuguese Federation of Pig Farmers' Associations predicts that exports of domestic pork to China will reach €100 million this year, and €200 million in 2020.


To meet growing demand, Maporal is to invest €15 million to renovate its facility, increasing the slaughter capacity to 20,000 pigs per week, said Marco Henriques.