The premium semen of British pigs is apparently worth about £45 million ($73.61 million), which is the value of a lucrative deal the U.K. has scored to export porcine semen to China.
David Cameron pushed ahead this week to ink a deal with the Chinese government to begin selling material for artificial insemination as part of his wide-ranging agenda to encourage bilateral trade between China and the U.K., the Financial Times reported on Wednesday.
The deal will bear fruit in the first quarter of next year. British pigs will not be flying, but their semen will be flown to China in frozen and fresh form, as the Chinese seek to improve their pig stock. Four artificial insemination centers based in England and Northern Ireland will begin making preparations in 2014.
"We're doing all we can to ensure that businesses up and down the country reap the rewards from our relationship with China,” said a U.K. No. 10 spokesperson. “And that includes our pig farmers. This new deal to export pig semen will be worth £45m to UK firms and means Britain's best pigs will help sustain the largest pig population in the world.”
British companies are currently prevented from exporting pig semen under China’s biological safety rules, but the new deal means the U.K.’s best pigs will help sustain the biggest pig population in the world, according to the Financial Times.
China is home to about half of the world’s pigs, but it needs to improve the genetics of its stock to keep up with its ferocious demand for pork. Higher-quality pigs will help increase the efficiency of production while minimizing the environmental impact of increased production.
Chris Jackson, the export manager of the British Pig Association, said that British pigs grow faster, eat less food and reproduce much more quickly than their Chinese counterparts. U.K. breeders have sows that could produce more than 30 piglets a year now, while Chinese sows are still producing fewer than 16.
British authorities are also negotiating for the exports of pigs’ trotters, a Chinese delicacy, according to the Financial Times. If the deal goes through, trotters could generate as much as 40 million pounds for British companies, according to the Financial Times.