In 1978, Deng Xiaoping introduced a program of economic reforms in China that began to move the country in the direction of becoming a market economy. The following year, pork started on the path to global domination as the world’s most produced and consumed meat. These two trajectories are intimately linked. While pork had been a key source of protein in China for thousands of years, it was only in the context of de-collectivizating the countryside, liberalizing agricultural markets, and adopting industrial production technologies and ideologies that China’s pork sector began to shift global statistics. Today, 30 years after Deng’s market reforms began, pigs—and what pigs are eating—in China have become big news and big business. The world, it seems, is watching.

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Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
ISS Staff Group 4: Rural Development, Environment and Population
International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University (ISS)

Schneider, M.L. (2011). Feeding China's Pigs: Implications for the Environment, China's Smallholder Farmers and Food Security. ISS Staff Group 4: Rural Development, Environment and Population. Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/51021