Poland's pig sector: Once thriving, now fragmented


Vincent ter Beek, Pig Progress

Feb 6, 2019††††


In the mid-1990s, Poland had over 22 million pigs within its borders. Ever since, however, the number has dwindled to barely over 11 million pigs. A fragmented industry is one of the causes of this reduction. What does Polandís pig industry look like these days?


When looking at the figures alone, there is a strong desire to turn the clock back to about 25 years ago in Poland. Between 1975 and 1995, the total number of pigs in the country varied from year to year, but without exception the total pig inventory was around 20 million pigs. The country reached its zenith with 22.1 million pigs in 1992. Ever since, the numbers have gradually dropped until in the last decade the numbers severely started declining. According to the latest figures of the UNís Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in 2017, the country had 11.4 million pigs. That was up a few hundred thousand from 2016, when Poland had its absolute low since the FAO started counting in 1965: 10.9 million.


Polish pig market analysis


Pork is and has been the countryís most important piece of meat, as can be seen in Table 1. In 2016, on average the Polish consumed 76kg of meat per year, of which 41kg was pork (almost 54% of the total). On the consumerís side there does not seem to be so much of a problem. That is a tendency that Dr Piotr Szajner of the Polish Institute of Agricultural and Food Economics (IERIGZ) in Warsaw, Poland, noted in his analysis of the Polish pig market which was published in late 2017.


But what is the problem in Poland? In essence, he notes, there are 6 major reasons why after the accession to the European Union in 2004, the Polish sector has not managed to keep up:


         A heavy fragmentation of production in agriculture and the meat industry as well as poorly developed vertical and horizontal integration;

         Slow changes in the production structures and reluctance to cooperate by market players, in particular pig producers and entities processing red meat;

         Slow technological progress in pig production in the conditions of excessive production capacity and its poor utilisation in the meat industry;

         A high price risk associated with considerable fluctuations in cereal and feed prices, resulting in sharp fluctuations in the economic viability of pig production;

         S trong competition in the sector, also due to imports, which increased after Polandís accession to the EU;

         The competition strategy in the meat industry is based on low prices and reducing the raw material content in final products, which impedes, at the same time, the demand for agricultural raw materials.


Fragmentation & reluctance to cooperate ...


Where is pork produced in Poland? ...


Pork processing: also fragmented ...


Trade issues ...


ASF situation in Poland ...


Pork consumption in Poland ...†


more, including tables, maps, charts†