Dollars and Sense


China is the world’s largest producer, consumer, and importer of meat. In 2018, the country imported about 1.8 million tons of pork, 0.5 million tons of chicken, and 0.9 million tonnes of beef.

76.5 million metric tons of meat were produced locally in 2019 with pork taking 50% of the import positions. However, as shown in the table above, China still imported about 2 million tons of pork, 0.8 million tons of chicken, and 1.7 million tons of beef.

One of the major factors that have caused this massive importation drive is the outbreak of the African swine fever in China and worldwide as well. Also, China’s limited water supply and reserves are too low to cater for livestock farming to the populace.

This sweeping wave of the pandemic is predicted to kill no less than 25% of the world’s pig population and even a larger proportion of China’s hog herd. This had naturally inflated pork prices around the world and has caused greater imports in countries like China where pork is the most consumed meat.

Below are the number of countries from which China imported meat in 2018 and 2019.