Taiwan has regained its status of being free from Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) without vaccination. That means that the island can start exporting pork products again.
The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) revealed the new status in an update on its website. Together with Taiwan, 1 zone in Brazil and 4 zones in Colombia have been declared free from FMD, but in both cases with vaccination.
The Taiwanese press agency CNA quoted government sources that Taiwan will be able to export pork products again as of mid-2020.
In estimates, the annual output value of Taiwan’s fresh pork exports could exceed US$ 334.1 million, with the main markets likely to be Japan and South East Asian countries, including for example Singapore. According to CNA, currently, 5.51 million swine are raised in Taiwan. The Council of Agriculture (COA) deputy minister Huang Chin-cheng expected that to increase by 1 million for export purposes.
Before the FMD outbreak in 1997, Taiwan exported NT$ 60 billion worth of fresh pork to Japan annually, according to COA data.
What is pig production in Taiwan like?
For Taiwan, it has taken 24 years before it could reclaim back this status. In 2009, an attempt to get rid of the virus failed when vaccinations stopped after 7 cases were reported later that year. The status ‘FMD free with vaccination’ was eventually achieved in May 2018.
Only the island group of Kinmen, just a few miles off the coast of mainland China, had an outbreak of FMD in 2015, which is why these islands are excluded for now. According to Chen Chi-chung, minister of the Council of Agriculture, the council will try to end the vaccination programme there within three years. Other offshore counties Penghu and the Matsu islands are included in the new status.
In the same OIE update, Croatia, Kazakhstan and Malta were declared free from Classical Swine Fever (CSF).