Coronavirus Threatens China Pork Industry’s Recovery From Deadly Pig Disease
What’s new: China’s pork industry is gradually recovering from African swine fever, the deadly pig disease that decimated hog stocks last year, but the comeback is being increasingly threatened by the coronavirus pandemic, a senior agriculture official said Monday.
Yu Kangzhen, a deputy minister at China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, said at a news conference that the double-whammy from the two ongoing disease outbreaks has cranked up the pressure on China’s meat production and supply.
African swine fever, a hemorrhagic disease that is harmless to humans but can be 100% fatal in some pig farms, remains present in every Chinese province, Yu said. Although live hog production and the transportation of breeding pigs are getting back to normal, efforts to control the spread of Covid-19 are dragging at the industry’s return to its former health.
The background: African swine fever has killed millions of hogs in the world’s largest pork market since 2018, causing pork prices to double last year compared with the period before the outbreak and forcing governments to periodically raid secret stockpiles of meat.
China has been importing more pork to plug its domestic shortfall. The country brought in a record 951,000 tons of pork from abroad in the first quarter this year, an increase of 274,000 tons over the previous period, according to the General Administration of Customs.
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