“Spanish Lesson” in the Pig Sector

Udovecz, Gábor – Szili, Viktor – Potori, Norbert

Keywords: producer organization, physical indicators, competitiveness, Q13, Q17

Despite all its endeavours the Hungarian pig sector is not strong enough against the competition in the market. Many researchers, using a range of methods, have sought to identify the reasons for this situation. In this article we compared Spanish practice with the state of the Hungarian pig sector. The first difference between the pig sectors of the two countries is that Hungarian pig breeding and fattening are considered to be expensive and uncompetitive. So the efficiency is the major difference between the two countries, and the impacts of this can be shown by the changes in the numbers of livestock. The number of pigs in Spain has increased by 80 percent since 1990, while that in Hungary decreased notably over the same period. The general measure of competitiveness includes other parameters as well as the efficiency indicators for breeding and fattening. The cost of production is lower in Hungary than in Spain, nevertheless the pig meat is considered to be of good quality for the markets with high standards.
With the restructuring of the global competition, the critical components of market success have changed: there is a need for common perspectives between public policies, professional organisations, the pig farmers, processors and traders, together with greater capability for effective organisation and innovation. Today, it is not enough to reach a high efficiency level in breeding and fattening to maintain long-term competitiveness and be successful in different markets. It is essential to be successful at all stages of production as well as have excellent organisational and innovation skills.
The ‘Spanish Lesson’ is all about the Spanish market players who jointly selected and organised their own internal and external targeted markets and adapted to the high expectations there. In order to maintain the trust of their customers they outperformed the animal health and food safety regulations; they used state assets effectively for infrastructure development and market expansion. They implemented market transparency and the discipline of vertical integration, and benefitted from the advantages of doing so, such as lower funding costs, consumers’ trust and a safe marketing environment.
The Hungarian pig sector could reach the level of the Spanish one by enhancing its human resources, purposefully organising and controlling the market, stimulating even more intensive product development, supporting clear regulations for integration as well as stabilising the business conditions.