Estonia's largest meat processor Rakvere Lihakombinaat said it will begin importing live pigs from Finland as Estonian producers are unable to meet demand after the outbreak of the African Swine Fever.
“We will import live pigs from Finland in the fourth quarter of the year," Teet Soorm, CEO of HKScan Estonia, the company behind Rakvere Lihakombinaat, confirmed, saying that local producers fail to meet demand as farms are located in the third zone of the African Swine Fever, which changes the criteria for how pork is handled. "Pork from the third zone can not be exported," Soorm explained.
Pork production has fallen and it is important for HKScan Estonia to keep production going, Soorm said.
“HKScan's advantage is that we are part of an international concern and we have contracts with Finnish pig farms, from where we can buy pigs if the need arises,” he said, adding that this will not affect prices.
Parliament's Rural Affairs Committee Chairman Ivari Padar told Eesti Päevaleht this is a new blow to Estonian pig farmers.
“This is akin to dumping local food in the mud,” Padar said.
Rural Affairs Minister Urmas Kruuse said this comes at a time when the industry should stick together.
HKScan itself is Estonia's largest live pig producer, raising around 40 percent of all pigs in Estonia. The company also purchases 10 percent of all live pigs from other farms. It processes around 300,000 pigs each year, exporting 50 percent of its products. 30 percent of HKScan's pig farms have also been classified as zone three in the African Swine Fever outbreak.
Estonia has killed tens of thousands of pigs since the outbreak started this summer.
Editor: J.M. Laats