Argentina will export pigs to China for the first time in its history because the Asian giant suffers from a global epidemic of African swine fever and needs to import them.
Argentine President Mauricio Macri made the announcement Monday during a visit to a meat packing plant in the western province of Buenos Aires, and it spread through social networks.
"We have obtained authorization to export pork to China, a country of 1.5 billion people and that is the main pig consumer in the world," said the president, surrounded by a dozen workers of the establishment. It (China) wants to buy (from) us because it (country) trusts (us) ... they believe in the quality of our products, which we are going to fulfill," he emphasized.
The price of pork has exploded in recent months in the international market due to a global epidemic of African swine fever, which is harmless for humans but highly deadly for animals.
China, which is also the main producer of pigs on the planet, has been badly affected by the epidemic. There are no official figures on animal mortality, but the opening of the Chinese market reflects the need of that country to resort to new sources to supply itself.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, pork production in China reached 54 million tons and domestic consumption exceeded 55 million tons in 2018, with a per capita consumption of almost 40 kilos per year.
"This is going to mean a lot of work for the producers of pigs, for the transporters and for the slaughterhouses that are going to fish and they will continue to expand," said Macri, who announced the news just as the South American country passes through. an economic crisis that affected the popularity of the president.
According to official figures, Argentina increased pork production by 5% in the first quarter of the year to 148,390 tons. Between 2015 and 2018, the export grew 555%. Macri will seek re-election in the October general elections.