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ASF wipes the Myrgorod pig breed out of existence

At least 2 pig breeds have ceased to exist in Ukraine due to the continuing spread of African Swine Fever (ASF) virus in the country.

That message was shared by Nikolay Berezovsky, member of the Ukrainian National Academy of Agricultural Sciences.

A stuffed Myrgorod pig at the Poltava Local History Museum, Ukraine. Photo: Wikipedia
A stuffed Myrgorod pig at the Poltava Local History Museum, Ukraine. Photo: Wikipedia

All farms with large black breeds as well as the entire Myrgorod breed have been destroyed over the past few years, the result being that both breeds can no longer be found in Ukraine, according to Mr Berezovsky. The disappearance of the Myrgorod breed is especially discouraging, as it was one of the 1st breeds developed by Ukraine scientists, Mr Berezovsky added.

Myrgorod pig breeds outside Ukraine?

While the large black is a common breed in many countries, there is no information whether or not the Myrgorod breed could be found anywhere outside Ukraine.

Read more on pig health in the Pig Progress Health Tool

In an earlier stage, it was reported that National Academy of Agrarian Sciences of Ukraine lost all 4 pig farms under its ownership due to the ASF. Dekabrystiv Experimental Farm, the only breeding farm in the country housing the Myrgorod breed, was among them. A total of 100% of the genetic potential of the breed was concentrated in that farm, including 6 boar lines and 12 families of sows, according to official government information.

Lack of cured pork fat

There is a real threat that Ukraine is facing a shortage of cured pork fat on the domestic market, said Alexander Tserenyuk, director of the livestock institute of the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences in the local news medium Time Ukraine. Historically, cured pork fat has been a popular dish in Ukraine.

Read more on Ukraine’s swine industry in this Country Focus article

Both the large black breed as well as the Myrgorod breed were grown primarily for the production of the cured pork fat, Mr Tserenyuk said.

There are many different breeds left in the Ukraine pork industry, but some of them may be also under pressure from ASF. To this end, state aid would be necessary, aimed at preservation of breeds having a small population size, Mr Tserenyuk added.

ASF: Heavy impact on Ukraine’s pig industry

In general, ASF has brought a heavy impact on the Ukraine pig breeding industry, and more breeds could be jeopardised. For instance, in 2010 there were 90 pedigree breeding farms in Ukraine, while as of early 2018 only 48 left, Mr Berezovsky said.

What is happening due to African Swine Fever all over the world? Read it in our special page on ASF

Ukraine has been registering on average of 150 ASF outbreaks per year over the past few years. As a result, the country’s pig population has dropped from 8 million head prior to ASF to only 6 million head in 2018, Mr Berezovsky said.

Ukraine’s pig industry production performance

The production performance in the industry has been falling for 3 years in a row. In the 1st half of 2018, Ukraine produced 130,000 tonnes of pork, 3% down compared to the same period of the previous year, according to figures by the country’s State Statistical Service.

Ukraine government officials have repeatedly been warning that the country will have to increase pork imports in the coming years in order to meet the domestic demand.