Techbank Food, the 6th largest pig producer in China, has kicked off construction of a pig slaughterhouse with an annual capacity of 5 million head in Fuyang, Anhui province, in the centre of China.

It will be the largest pig slaughterhouse in Asia once completed, according to the company. The total investment is RMB 1.35 billion (US$ 189 million), and it is scheduled to start operations in late 2021, Techbank said, adding that the facility will hire about 3,000 workers.

Techbank entered pig farming in 2013

Starting from being an aquafeed miller in 1996, Techbank entered pig farming in 2013, when it bought a stake of more than 40% in Choice Genetics of the US. It also acquired Nasdaq-delisted AgFeed’s assets, laying the foundation for its transition to becoming a pig producing company.

Goal: 30 million pigs per year

Now pig farming operations contribute about 75% of Techbank’s revenue. In 2019, it produced 2.44 million head, up 12.43% from a year earlier. The company’s goal is to produce 30 million pigs per year, though it has no timetable for the plan.

6 Large slaughterhouses

To match the farming goal, Techbank announced in 2018 that it will build 6 pig slaughterhouses close to its farms, with a capacity of 5 million head each. It currently owns a small slaughterhouse in Huai’an, Jiangsu province, which will be expanded to the same size.

“Before entering the slaughtering segment, we have fully learned the global situation and trends,” the company’s then-president Shen Weiping explained. “In 2017 alone, our team visited Europe – the Netherlands and Germany – for many times, and it should be said that such a size is optimised for management and production efficiency.”

Tightening control of live pig transportation

As China tightens control of live pig transportation amid African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreaks, leading producers such as Muyuan and New Hope are all investing in downstream slaughtering to tap the opportunity for a consolidation. The most selected annual capacity is 2 million head.

China currently has about 5,000 pig slaughterhouses and they are running at only 30% of their total capacity. Shuanghui, the largest player and an affiliate of Smithfield Foods, slaughtered 13.2 million head in 2019, or at 53.6% of its capacity.

Pig Progress | Allen Shu |