Becoming more self-sufficient in pork production is the biggest opportunity for the pork sector, but it also raises the biggest challenges.
Speaking at AHDB’s Livestock Outlook Webinar, analyst Bethan Wilkins said export substitution could provide opportunities for the pork sector post-Brexit.
“We have only got about 55 per cent self-sufficiency. There is an opportunity there for expanding our own production and increasing that.
“Equally, the challenge is related to the opportunity here in that you have got the carcase balance problem.
“Of course, the demand for some cuts in the UK is not there, it is much stronger for the other cuts.”
She added the industry needed to think about how it was going to stimulate demand for those other cuts.
And she believed domestic demand for pork had turned ‘a bit of a corner’.
While pork demand for the whole of 2017 had fallen 1 per cent, it saw a rising trend in the second half of the year.
“AHDB’s campaign may have supported this and this will help to enhance the development in the coming weeks and months,” she added.
The campaign was focused on encouraging consumers to ‘pick pork’ for meals which can be prepared in under 30 minutes as well as communicating health messages.
She also expected productivity to continue broadly moving up, although it could slow as farmers concentrated on reducing their antibiotic levels.
“Producers were reported to be investing in buildings and infrastructure rather than herds,” she added.
On a global scale, Ms Wilkins said there was a lot of uncertainty.
Danish production was expected to increase for the first time in years, alongside expanding production throughout Europe and North America.
“Expanding production from the US and Canada is making global markets competitive," she said, adding Chinese demand could recover but any market share the EU could gain from it was uncertain.