Against international competition, British pig-breeding company ACMC has won an order to supply genetically-advanced pigs to the Georgia, the strategically-important country where Europe meets Asia.
ACMC has sent the foundation stock for a new, 1200-sow unit set up by a private company, Kalanda Ltd, near Tbilisi, to meet a hugely under-supplied market for pork and pigmeat products. The brand new unit involved an investment of over six million euros. This one farm will have over 10 per cent of the country’s pig population.
Initially, the farm is being stocked with 700 high health AC1 breeding gilts, but 80 grandparent sows and boars are also being supplied so that the farm can breed its own replacements and expand production. Technological backup is being provided from ACMC’s head office in Beeford, Yorkshire.
Since independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 the country has suffered an economic downturn following a deterioration of trading links with Russia and it wants to become self-sufficient in pork production.
"Currently the population of around 4.3 million people consumes just 4 kg of pigmeat per head per year. Feed prices are high, but finishers are currently fetching the equivalent of about £3 per kg, making a slaughter pig worth more than double that in UK," commented Matthew Curtis, ACMC’s managing director.
"Britain has a good reputation for healthy stock, but they also chose the pigs on the basis of temperament and fecundity, as well as feed conversion and carcase quality of the slaughter pigs," he added.
"We believe that ACMC are market leaders in terms of growth rate and feed efficiency due to the shear amount of individual testing that they carry out for feed conversion," said Soso Murvanidze, general manager of Kalanda.