Pig DNA the latest great American export to Asia


From Bloomberg, featuring the president of Hypig Genetics, Edwin Chen:

Chen is a slight 55-year-old with neatly parted black hair and wire-rim glasses. As president of Hypig Genetics, he oversees a 6,000-sow operation on several farms in the Filipino countryside. He wants to triple that number, in part by buying thoroughbred pigs from the U.S., where he says swine genetics is decades ahead of that in the Philippines. Chen says his family’s desire to expand quickly is based on potential as much as current demand. The gross domestic product per capita in the Philippines is about $2,900 a year. When it reaches $5,000, Chen predicts, demand for meat will explode. “We have to get ready,” he says.

That’s just the Filipino market. Can you imagine the demand for pork in China?

Buying elite DNA—either frozen or chilled semen, frozen embryos or live animals—is a logical next step, jump-starting a process that normally takes decades of selective breeding. It’s the farm equivalent of upgrading software or technology, betting that the long-term gains outweigh the short-term costs. The animal genetics industry, valued at $2.5 billion, is expected to increase an average 9 percent per year through the end of the decade, fueled by growing meat and dairy consumption and improved breeding technology, according to MarketsandMarkets, a research firm.

Half of the American breeding pigs exported in the past 10 years have gone to Asian countries like China, South Korea, Japan, and Vietnam.

Pork is delicious. That’s why aficionados refer to pigs as the “divine swine.” You’ll know what I mean if you’ve ever had bacon or Chinese BBQ pork enter your mouth.

 

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