ASF China: An underestimated crisis

05-08-2019 | | |
Photo: Lina Mur
Photo: Lina Mur

As many as half of China’s breeding pigs have either died from African Swine Fever (ASF) or been slaughtered because of the spreading disease, Reuters reports, adding that according to insiders, this is twice as many as officially acknowledged.

Since China’s first reported case of ASF in August 2018, the virus has spread to every province in China, and beyond its borders. The government has thus far reported 137 outbreaks, but according to numerous farmers, many more are going unreported.

“Something like 50% of sows are dead,” said Edgar Wayne Johnson, a veterinarian and founder of Enable Agricultural Technology Consulting, a Beijing-based farm services firm with clients countrywide. In Shandong, the 4th largest pig-raising province in China, more than half of farms with large numbers of sows were now empty, Mr Johnson estimated.

Several other executives at producers of vaccines, feed additives and genetics also estimate losses of 40 – 50% based on falling sales and direct knowledge of the extent of the deadly disease. Losses are not only from infected pigs dying or being culled, but also from farmers sending pigs to market early when the disease is discovered nearby.

Pork prices are beginning to rise, indicating tight supply, and China’s agricultural ministry believes prices could surge by 70% in coming months as a result of the outbreak.

Source : Reuters

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Natalie Kinsley Freelance journalist