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Value of Canada's pork exports to Japan continues to grow

Canada looks to capture as much of the market as possible in Japan – it's highest value market.

22 April 2019, at 10:57am

Michael Young, the vice president technical services and marketing programmes with Canada Pork International says that as Canada steps up its focus on the export of fresh chilled pork to Japan, the value of those exports will continue to increase.

"Where do all the Pig Parts Go?" was discussed as part of last month's 2019 London Swine Conference. Young says that Japan accounted for 265 thousand tonnes of Canadian pork in 2018 valued at 1.2 billion dollars.

"It's a growing market in terms of self sufficiency, meaning they only produce around 46 percent of their supply and the consumption is growing slightly," he explained in an interview with Farmscape.

"Overall we see opportunity for growth in the chilled pork sector for Canada. Over the last 10 years we've been focusing on moving from commodity based frozen cuts to chilled cuts. About 55 percent of our volume that goes to Japan now goes into the chilled sector which is quite a change if you look over the years.

"That represents again lots of opportunity for Canadian exporters who want to either expand their Japanese business or get into the Japanese chilled meat pork business.

"In the chilled sector there's really just three players. There's the USA, Canada and Mexico. There's a few others but they're very small.

As of 2018, we [Canada] represented 48 percent of the chilled pork imports. The USA accounts for 49 percent and Mexico is about three percent.

"From our point of view there's lots of opportunity to grow. As the sector is growing, year over year, the demand for high-quality pork is increasing and Canada has the product and the value to step up and be a supplier.

"Our goal is to capture and develop as much of that market as possible."

Young says Japan has always been the most lucrative export pork market in the world and Canada's highest value market.