About IATP

The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy promotes resilient family farms, rural communities and ecosystems around the world through research and education, science and technology, and advocacy.

Founded in 1986, IATP is rooted in the family farm movement. With offices in Minneapolis and Geneva, IATP works on making domestic and global agricultural policy more sustainable for everyone.

IATP Web sites

About Think Forward

Think Forward is a blog written by staff of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy covering sustainability as it intersects with food, rural development, international trade, the environment and public health.

Categories

Archives

RSS feeds

 Subscribe in a reader

« Anna Lappé on TakePart commmencement speaker dream team | Main | Food reserves: Deepening the debate in Europe »

June 07, 2010

Chinese piggybusiness

Mindi Schneider is blogging from China. She is a native Midwesterner currently living in China and working on her PhD in Development Sociology at Cornell.

Thirty years ago, there were no agribusinesses in China. Today, private domestic agricultural firms are growing in number, in market share for agricultural goods and services, and in political and economic power. Foreign agribusiness firms and transnational corporations also operate in China, through joint ventures with domestic companies and as wholly-owned operations. In the pig industry in particular, the degree of commercialization varies considerably across different regions and localities, but this form of industrial production and processing is on the rise throughout the country.

I visited a midsized commercial swine breeding and production operation in Sichuan Province last week, and from all indications, these mid- to large-scale firms are planning for even further expansion, both in terms of the number of animals they raise (whether in their own facilities or through contracts with specialized pig farmers), and in terms of market share. In Sichuan Province, the historic heart and current leading pork producing province, commercial firms produce 10 percent of the province’s pigs, and specialized household farms that contract with commercial growers raise another 30–35 percent of the total. This means that small-scale or “backyard” farmers produce 55–60 percent of Sichuan’s pigs. An industry expert shared these unofficial numbers with me, adding that compared to the figures in 2007, things are changing quite quickly. Just three years ago, commercial farms produced 5 percent of pigs, specialized farms 25 percent, and backyard farms 70 percent. In some provinces, commercial and specialized farms already control the vast majority of the market.  

In an effort to better understand how this transformation is taking place, I’m working on a series of “Chinese Agribusiness Profiles” that outline basic information about the organization and operation of some of the leading pig industry–related firms. I started with New Hope Group, IMG_5525China’s largest feed grain producer, which is headquartered in Chengdu, Sichuan Province. This, and all subsequent profiles, will be posted at my blog at www.pigpenning.wordpress.com. I hope that by starting to sketch the contours of the industry we can get a better handle on this massive transformation, and what it means for China’s farmers and environment—and for farmers and food systems in other places. Like IATP's Jim Harkness says in his last post, it’s a start!

Mindi Schneider

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8341e565253ef0133f03d8057970b

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Chinese piggybusiness:

Comments

The comments to this entry are closed.