Updates with regard to African Swine Fever (ASF) are coming in at a high pace this week. A 10th region officially reported to be hit by the virus as the Chinese authorities are demanding a higher degree of oversight of larger swine farms in order to face the challenges.
The 10th region to be affected by ASF is Shanxi. The outbreak was confirmed on Oct 16, on a backyard farm in the north of the province, at just over 400 km west of the capital Beijing. The farm had 160 pigs, of which 7 were confirmed infected and 4 had died. The other animals were subsequently culled.
45th case of ASF in China
The outbreak is the 45th case that has officially been reported to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), although sources from China repeatedly indicate that there is more going on than is officially being communicated. When all official data are added up, almost 100,000 pigs have now died or been culled due to the outbreaks in China.
Pig prices drop as well as rise
China has forbidden the transport of live pigs from provinces that have reported outbreaks of ASF as well as bordering provinces in an effort to control the virus’ spread. In the map below, the provinces having reported outbreaks are orange; those with ‘just’ a transport ban are blue.
The ongoing outbreaks leads to price drops for pigs in the North (due to difficulty to sell them) and price hikes in the South (due to reasons of shortage of pork).
Local governments should watch large pig farms
In particular, in Liaoning province in the north, an important area for swine production, the situation appears to get worse with the day. The province on its own already reported 22 outbreaks in smaller and larger farms. The seriousness of the situation has also led China’s vice agriculture minister Yu Kangzhen to say that local governments should step up their oversight of large-scale pig farms and breeding farms.
According to press agency Reuters, Mr Yu’s comments were published on the website of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs. They came after a pig farm with almost 20,000 head near Jinzhou City in Liaoning province reported an outbreak of the disease earlier this week. It was the 1st large commercial farm to be hit by the virus – and it is included in our interactive map.
Virtually simultaneously, feed and swine producer Da Bei Nong Group reported on an online platform that there had been a suspected case of ASF on a 20,000 head affiliated farm, leading to the culling of all animals. Reuters wrote about this. It is unclear whether both reports refer to the same farm.
A large professional swine farm in China under construction. The country’s vice-minister of agriculture thinks more attention should be paid to protecting this type of farms from ASF. Photo: Vincent ter Beek
Minister warns for false ASF reporting
The press agency also said that the vice minister also said authorities should crack down on false reporting of cases of the disease to gain compensation for culling. Especially in the north of the country, e.g. Liaoning province, this is more cost-effective than selling the pigs, as prices have dropped low. Mr Yu did not say whether or not this type of behaviour is common.