The pork sector is leader in sustainable action and innovation, as is recognized and valued by public officials. It is a pioneering industry in reducing water consumption, using energy efficiently, as well as promoting, acquiring, and adapting first-rate technologies to meet its sustainability goals.
In the last 10 years, the Chilean pork sector has made remarkable improvements and technological progress, advancing its position in international markets, where Chile competes fiercely with products from Brazil, the US, Spain, Denmark, and other European countries. But beyond that, the pork industry is making important internal changes in all of its production stages, always thinking about how to optimize each process.
The pork industry in Chile went from a linear economy (take-make-waste) to a zero-loss concept where nutrients and energy are returned to the system to be reused, thus optimizing yield and efficiency while preserving natural capital.
In 2021, 100% of the slurry generated in pig farms is reused on the fields as fertilizer or organic amendment, using management plans for sustainable use. This allows us to recover macro and micronutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, to name a few, in addition to the contribution of organic matter for agriculture, which has a positive impact on the balance of ecosystems.
Similarly, 80% of the slurry generated every day goes through advanced treatment systems, such as activated sludge plants, biodigesters, and vermifilters. These allow treated water to be reused for cleaning the barns, reducing the sector’s annual use of fresh water by 26%.
On the other hand, 25% of pig production uses biodigesters as treatment systems, generating the equivalent of 7.6 megawatts of renewable energy per day. Much of this energy is used within production processes, for heating maternity pens, pelletizing feed, and also heating the biodigesters themselves, allowing for an efficient operation. Additionally, 1 MW is currently injected into the Central Interconnected System (SIC).
Progress in pig slurry treatment has allowed the sector to reduce its carbon footprint, reducing GHG emissions by 32% per head in the last 20 years. This means avoiding the emission of 422.8 Gg CO2 per year, which equals the CO2 absorption of 23,642 hectares of pine or the planting of 28 million trees.
Minister of Agriculture visits Agrosuper
The Minister of Agriculture, María Emilia Undurraga, visited Agrosuper’s La Ramirana treatment plant in mid-November to see on the ground how pork sector companies have taken charge of the entire production cycle, with a focus on sustainability and the future, watching the various actions implemented by the sector’s companies.
“We could see how companies have taken charge of the entire production cycle due to the need for a circular economy, with a vision of long-term sustainability. These technologies are unique in the world in many aspects that we want to replicate,” said Minister Undurraga.
“We wanted to see on the ground what the pork industry is doing in terms of sustainability, incorporating new technologies that allow for sustainable pork production, a circular economy that makes the most of every resource, succeeds in using less water, and uses energy more efficiently,” said Juan Carlos Domínguez, ChileCarne’s President.
Today, the Chilean pork sector is a sustainable industry that grows based on efficient production, circular economy, and technological innovation, with more than 12,000 workers directly collaborating in these actions every day.