Wikispanishfood editorial team
Last year was historic for Spain's pork sector which, for the first time ever, saw its exports exceed 5 billion euros, with revenues of 15 billion euros, which has had a direct impact on the generation of wealth and employment in many rural areas of Spain, according to the Director of the Interprofessional Agri-food Organization for White Pigs (Interporc), Albert Herranz.
Herranz met with the trade media to provide data on the Spanish pork sector's performance in 2017 and reflect on the year overall, highlighting stable production and domestic consumption and increased sales abroad, which accounted for 13% of revenues, or 5.080 billion euros.
He noted that Spain is the third-largest producer of pork products worldwide, with sales in over 130 countries, a position achieved "due to factors such as quality, food safety and the implementation of the European production model, the world's strictest in terms of sustainability and animal wellbeing."
He also underlined the pork sector's contribution to national wealth, with a positive trade balance of more than 4.5 billion euros, total turnover of 15 billion and the creation of 300,000 direct jobs and more than 1 million indirect jobs, mainly in rural areas.
France, the leading foreign market in volume and value
Herranz noted that sales to Europe increased in 2017, with the region accounting for 70% of the total, especially France, which is the main destination market in volume (322,000 tons), displacing China, which ranks second (318,000 tons).
In terms of value, France is again the primary destination, accounting for 922 million euros and increasing its lead over China (500 million) and Japan (433 million), which rank second and third, respectively.
In terms of products, 78% of our revenues outside Spain come from sales of fresh, chilled and frozen meat and offal, in line with the figure from the previous year.
A sustainable, safe production model
Herranz also highlighted some of the keys to success for Spain's pork sector, including the specialization and professionalization of workers throughout the production chain, the implementation of a sustainable production model, food quality and safety, and the global vision of farms and sector companies.
He also underlined the fact that the jobs created by the sector are stable, as experienced and trained workers and in demand. In terms of production, he noted that "there's no other place in the world where, by regulation, the animals have more space, better hygienic conditions and more protection."
He added that Spain has "modern livestock that ensures animal wellbeing and works to reduce the activity's impact, with the result that, in two decades, the use of water per kilo of meat has declined by 30% and greenhouse gas emissions have fallen by 22%."
Lastly, he said that the strict Spanish and European food safety regulation and the system that trace's a product's journey from the farm to the table set an example for the rest of the world and ensure that every meat product that reaches consumers conforms to top-flight health standards.