Mexican pig farming sector comes together at annual congress: The Netherlands will be guest country in 2023!

Last week, the Mexican pig farming sector came together to celebrate its ninth annual gathering. Some 1000 sector representatives discussed the main trends in the sector, and shared experiences with their colleagues from Spain, as guest country during this year’s gathering. In 2023, The Netherlands will be OPORMEX guest country.

Beeld: ©Erik Plaisier


From Wednesday 4 to Saturday 7 May, the Mexican porcine sector came together for the first time in three years at the Riviera Maya to celebrate its ninth annual gathering - OPORMEX 2022. Due to COVID19, the editions for 2020 and 2021 had been cancelled.

After the merge of OPORPA (Organización de Porcicultores del País) and the CPM (Confederación de Porcicultores Mexicanos), OPORMEX is now THE sector association of the Mexican pork meat sector, and OPORMEX 2022 is its annual gathering. The event, which was attended by Agricultural Counselor Erik Plaisier, was a combination of a two-day conference programme and trade show with some 100 exhibitors. Some 1.000 representatives from the sector joined the event, both pig farmers, in total representing approximately 80% of Mexico’s national production, and suppliers of technology, equipment, nutrition, genetics, pharmaceutical products and other inputs.

Guest country Spain

Spain, the world’s third largest pork meat producer, was guest country of OPORMEX 2022, and was represented by a delegation of some 20 Government, private sector and academia representatives, who all actively participated in the conference programme as panelists and moderators, to share experiences and lessons learned from Spain.

Main conference topics were (1) international market perspectives, (2) pig farming production models, (3) the place of pork meat in a healthy diet, (4) African Swine Fever (ASF), (5) sector governance and regulation; and (6) Social Responsibility. For each of these topics, the situation and experience in Mexico and Spain were compared and discussed through lively panel discussions with active participation from the audience.

Beeld: ©Erik Plaisier
Topigs Norsvin at the Expo Floor

International Market Perspectives

Two trends dominated the discussion on international market perspectives for the pork sector: China’s recovery from ASF and the resulting decline in Chinese swine imports; and the high prices of raw material (feed ingredients) and energy, resulting in high production costs in the sector. Other global challenges that were discussed were the limited availability of labour, rising costs to protect the environment and to ensure biosecurity; ASF and other (new) diseases, the need for more professional management in the sector, and geopolitical developments.

Mexico is currently the world’s 13th largest pork meat producer. Over the last ten years, it has seen consistent growth with an average annual growth of 3,6%. The main strength of Mexico’s porcine sector is its proximity to the US market; main weaknesses and threats are its limited market access (currently only to five - mostly Asian - countries), rising input prices and the limited availability of qualified labor. Conference participants agreed that the way out of these challenges is to raise efficiency (through better management and technologies) and market diversification through in new markets. Market diversification should allow Mexico to diversity its prices, as it could sell certain pork parts with high profit margins in markets where these are in high demand, in order to be able to compete with lower margins in more price-conscious markets with other pork parts.

Vertical integration

Regarding production models, much of the discussion centered around Spain’s success in vertical integration in the sector, which has allowed the sector to professionalize, to stabilize, to improve its access to credit, and which has allowed each sector segment to specialize in what it does best. Conference participants agreed that this is a model that Mexico should follow and learn from. Participants also stressed the importance of sustainable farming practices, both in environmental and social terms. The importance of animal welfare and circularity were highlighted by both panelists and questions from the audience.

African Swine Fever

Panelists concluded that Mexico had so far been successful in keeping ASF out and that Mexico should continue to work in a coordinated way between the sector and Government,. They also agreed on the importance of immediate notifications in case of ASF suspicions, and on the need for compensation schemes for ASF affected farmers.

Beeld: ©Erik Plaisier
Trouw Nutrition at the Expo Floor

Social Responsibility

Mexico’s two largest pig producers (Granjas Caroll and Kekén) are also pioneers in sustainability and shared their experiences in sustainability. Both producers are actively incorporating circular practices in their farms, and Kekén recently launched its “0 discharge” programme, with which it aims to implement a fully circular water management model in its operations and to be ‘water neutral’  by 2025.

The Netherlands guest country in 2023

During the closing ceremony, it was announced that The Netherlands will be OPORMEX guest country in 2023. Being guest country in 2023 will give be an excellent opportunity for The Netherlands to share experiences with Mexico, to position the Netherlands as a global reference in sustainable and circular agriculture, to consolidate the position of Dutch companies in the Mexican pig farming sector and to forge new relations between The Netherlands and Mexico in this sector. Dutch companies interested in contributing to or participating at this event, are encouraged to contact the agricultural team at the Netherlands Embassy in Mexico.