African Swine Fever has reached its 11th country in Asia and it’s an unexpected one: East Timor. This has happened at a time when prices for pork in mainland China are observed to be rising steeply and further outbreaks are reported from the Philippines and South Korea.
The outbreaks from East Timor were reported as from September 9, and were found in about 100 locations on backyard farms around the capital Dili. In total 405 animals were killed or had to be culled.
The discovery of African Swine Fever (ASF) on East Timor is a further blow to all those who had hoped that the sea would form a natural barrier to the further spread of the virus in Asia. In an earlier stage the virus hopped over from the mainland to the Philippines and now it also hopped over from Indonesia to reach East Timor. In a straight line, Dili is 3,000 km away from the south of Vietnam and 2,500 km away from Manila, the Philippines.
At the same time, the virus has also been confirmed in a few more locations in South Korea, bringing the total to 9 outbreaks altogether. 8 of them were found on professional farms and 1 of them on a backyard farm. In total, now 15,000 pigs had to be culled in South Korea. All locations were either in Gyeonggi province or in neighbouring Incheon Metropolitan City; all of them were found within 20 km from the border of North Korea.
Also in the Philippines the virus stays on the move. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the virus is now found in Rizal and Bulacan provinces, and in Quezon City and Antipolo City. Of these, only 7 outbreaks have officially been reported to the OIE.
In Vietnam, the number of casualties is still growing as well. The number of pigs culled has reached 5 million according to the FAO website.
The ASF situation has led to hefty prices increases for animal protein throughout China. Prices have climbed up to over RMB40/kg, which is 80% higher than for the same time last year, press agency Reuters wrote. As a result, demand for other types of animal protein is growing along with higher prices as a result.
Businessmen in the pig business at VIV Qingdao (held 19-21 September), estimated that roughly 60% of all pigs would have disappeared in China due to African Swine Fever. Officially, only 162 outbreaks have been reported throughout China. The official number of culled pigs in China has been at 1,170,000 pigs for quite some time now at the website of the FAO.
The Chinese authorities have released 10,000 tonnes of pork from its central reserves according to the Chinese state-run press agency Xinhua. In the last 2 weeks, an additional 20,000 tonnes were released.