KANSAS CITY (B)--Eight consecutive years of U.S. pork export growth, an exploding world population and expanding global per-capita income prompted the U.S. pork industry to train its sights on gaining a bigger slice of the world export market pie over the next decade.

The pronouncement was made to producer delegates assembled here for National Pork Industry Forum, the industry's annual business meeting that ended March 4.

Based on UN population forecasts and strong export sales expectations through 1999, The National Pork Producers Council--which sponsored the event and represents about 85,000 producer members--asked pork producers to recommit themselves to garnering a significant share of the world's pork exports over the next decade.

NPPC cited a recent University of Missouri study that showed net U.S. pork export sales contributed more than $3.22 billion in income to the industry's coffers since 1987. And, when last year's Russian food aid numbers are soon tallied, it is estimated that 556,313 tonnes of U.S. pork was shipped abroad in 1999

worth more than $1 billion.

On a carcass weight basis, U.S. pork exports are projected to account for 6.59% of 1999 total production. But, the industry recognizes that to achieve profitable growth, exports must almost triple over the next 10 years to approximately 15% of total production, a spokesman said.

The UN's Population Division projected the number of the planet's inhabitants would grow to 8.9 billion in the next half century. Furthermore, global economic expansion is also anticipated to increase per-capita income. There is a direct link between a consumer's income and the amount of meat they buy, which means world pork consumption will continue the strong growth seen during the past decade, the spokesman said.

The pork council compiled a list of "global imperatives" necessary for the industry to reach its goal of achieving greater pork export share worldwide over the next 10 years:

--Maintain consistent supply

--Gain meaningful access to key markets

--Supply pork to meet customer needs at a price they are willing to pay

--Customize producers-services

--Create significant acceptance for U.S. pork among the trade in key markets

--Establish a world-class image and reputation for the U.S. pork industry

As a central element of the pork checkoff-funded foreign market development strategy and working on behalf of the National Pork Board, NPPC arranged with the U.S. Meat Export Federation to conduct aggressive efforts in opening key individual and multi-country markets for pork's acceptance.

Programs incorporating the U.S. Pork Seal are already building an awareness and preference for U.S. pork among the export trade and consumers in countries such as Japan, Mexico, Korea, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Russia and Latin America.

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