Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) agricultural markets analyst, Andriy Pankratov, has commented on Ukraine’s declining pig livestock, predicting that the beginning of 2018 will see the lowest numbers of Ukraine’s independence.
"We have repeatedly heard that the pig population [in Ukraine] in the beginning of 2017 turned out to be the smallest in nearly a decade. It's interesting how things are happening right now. First, I'd like to mention that the situation has even worsened… livestock has continued to decrease," Pankratov explained to Liga.net.
Numbers are continually fluctuating but when figures from corresponding months last year are compared with those of this year, a drop of 8.4% (3.334 million head against 3.639 million) in pig livestock populations is observed, according to UNIAN (24th October 2017).
"The largest reduction was reported by agri-businesses. The number of pigs was 10.1% down on October year-over-year (3.427 million head against 3.814 million), while the decline was only 3.7% at the beginning of the year. There are many factors that affected the situation: African swine fever (ASF) outbreaks, the last year's low profitability which consequences became apparent in full, quite high prices of live weight which encouraged the sales, as well as the repair of facilities and the update of livestock immediately at several large-sized enterprises," Pankratov said.
However, it is noted that these numbers are sensitive to fluctuations in market value and Pankratov insists that such figures are not a definitive outlook of pig breeding productivity: "The tendency of reducing the number of pigs in the households is continuing and it almost does not react to the temporary market factors, that is, it is evolutionary. However, the professional pig-breeding sector is rather sensitive to changes in the profitability and business risks, and is showing a rather logical and predictable response. The reaction is somewhat belated so far. For example, the peak of prices in the EU was registered earlier and the corresponding increase in production occurred more quickly, but we also have the signs of a stable market."
This said, Pankratov maintains that these numbers are particularly low, with further declines predicted for 2018: “it's unrealistic to cover the decline in the livestock in the households so far, and the total number of pigs at the beginning of next year is expected to be the lowest in Ukraine's current history, at the level of 6.1 million head, according to our estimates."