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General supply chain structure

This lesson will give you an insight into the general structure of a pork supply chain.

The supply chain starts with breeders. Two types of breeders can be distinguished:

  1. breeder organizations aimed at cultivation of the species and at genetic improvement;
  2. breeders aimed at providing input to the production farms through production of semen, boars and sows.

The next stage consists of farrowing farms and finishing farms (also called fatteners). Farrowers and finishers may be separate farms, but may also be integrated in one farm.

From farms pigs are transported to slaughterhouses, where they are slaughtered.

After slaughtering meat is cut into meat parts. Meat parts may be sold directly or are processed into fresh cuts, convenience food, sausages, and other products. Processing companies may be part of slaughterhouses or may be separate companies.

From there meat products are transferred to consumers. Customers can be retailers, butcher shops, hotels, restaurants, hospitals, etc.

The final stage in the supply chain consists of consumers.

The main supply chain requires input from the feed industry, breeding companies aimed at genetic improvement, technology providers, and veterinarians. Output is dealt with by transporters, traders, and distributors.

Other stakeholders are those parties that have a strong influence on the organization and operation of the chain, but are, of course, also influenced by parties in the primary chain process. These stakeholders are government, technology developers, research institutes and universities, branch organizations, financial institutes, and social pressure groups.

Developments in the pork sector can be followed in a news item called pigprogress.

The pork supply chain is also supported by various actors:

Transporters transport food, sows, semen and boars, piglets, pigs, and meat between the various parties in the pork chain. Trucks may be owned by parties themselves, but may also be provided by transport companies.

Traders, dealers, and distributors may play a large role in offering products and services, including transport. Traders act as intermediate between supply and demand in some chains by offering services like information exchange. Dealers offer a range of products, like feed and fertilizers, and services, like credit or cash collection, mostly locally. Distributors link different components of the chain. They are sometimes owned by one of these components.