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Global Ag View: African Swine Fever will see Chinese imports of pork soar

Chinese imports of pork were expected to soar as its pig herd fell to its smallest size since 1983.

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Global Ag View: African Swine Fever will see Chinese imports of pork soar

Imports could increase by 1 million tonnes to 2.5mt in 2019, according to the US Department of Agriculture’s Beijing Bureau, on the back of the African swine fever (ASF) epidemic.

 

And this would grow to 3.5mt in 2020 as domestic supplies were unable to meet Chinese demand for pork. This was despite a decline in demand due to ‘unfounded’ food safety concerns over ASF.

 

While imports have been slower than expected in early 2019, this reflected factors such as the amount of meat in cold stores.

 

Reduction

 

The bureau forecast the Chinese pig herd ending 2020 at 306.1m head, down 34m year on year and the lowest since 1983, following an 88m head reduction in 2019.

 

A Beijing bureau spokesperson said: “Due to the massive size and density of China’s swine herd and the wide geographic spread of the disease, the animal health risk presented by ASF in China is unprecedented.”


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The US Department of Agriculture bureau in Beijing added, based on extensive interviews with industry and the market, the number of actual outbreaks ‘far exceeds’ the total China’s farm ministry has reported.

 

But the bureau raised doubts over forecasts from other commentators of up to 70 per cent herd loss this year, saying they appeared exaggerated.

 

In Europe, ASF has been confirmed in Slovakia for the first time. The case was found in Strazne, near the Hungarian border.

 

The World Organisation for Animal Health reported one animal was confirmed with the virus, with four other susceptible animals identified on the holding.

 

There have also been further outbreaks in domestic pigs throughout Eastern Europe, as well as in wild boar in Eastern Europe and Belgium.

 

Romania continued to have the largest number of outbreaks in domestic pigs, with the highest number of wild boar cases in Poland.

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