August 28, 2019 / 6:53 PM / 20 days ago

UPDATE 1-BRF CEO says swine fever will drive Brazil pork output growth

(Adds quote, details about swine fever outbreak and consequences)

By Ana Mano

SAO PAULO, Aug 28 (Reuters) - Food processor BRF SA is poised to increase pork production in home country Brazil as an outbreak of African swine fever is driving import demand for that type of protein in China, the most affected by the sanitary crisis.

Lorival Luz, BRF chief executive, said on Wednesday the company accounts for 28% of Brazil’s supply estimated at about 4 million tonnes of pork a year. He did not provide an estimate for how much the company could boost production.

Speaking during an industry event in São Paulo, Luz warned that any initiative to grow output must be carefully weighed because the disease, deadly for pigs but harmless to humans, caused a supply imbalance that is only momentary and will gradually be corrected.

“A company may need two years to effectively increase pork production, at which point the market could be oversupplied,” he said on the sidelines of the trade event, alluding to the length of that meat’s production cycle.

Chinese pork meat imports are projected to sharply rise from 2.1 million tonnes in 2018 to 3.3 million tonnes in 2019 and 4.2 million tonnes in 2020 due to the outbreak, broker and consultancy INTL FCStone said on Monday.

Luz told reporters “he roots” for countries to quickly control the outbreak, which has caused a 29% drop in China’s hog inventories in the past 12 months, according to data he presented during the event. (Reporting by Ana Mano; Editing by Christian Plumb and Andrea Ricci)

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