According to an article that Sputnik News published, U.S. Consumer News and Business Channel (CNBC) recently reported that, as China is unable to solve the African swine fever issue, African swine fever could drive up the global prices of protein since China consumes 40 percent of the pork in the world. China’s problem may also cause shortages in other countries’ food markets.
African swine fever is an acute viral infection in pigs that is not transmitted to other animals and humans. In August 2018, the African swine fever epidemic broke out in Liaoning Province for the first time and the virus spread rapidly to other provinces in China. Now Chinese officials have confirmed that more than 120 cases of African swine fever have been recorded in 30 provinces and autonomous regions. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, nearly one million pigs have been slaughtered, but China has still failed to control the spread of the dangerous virus of African swine fever.
In an interview with Chinese media, Chinese agriculture minister Han Changfu reported that the African swine fever virus has been brought under control and the occurrence rate has decreased. From the beginning of 2019, only 23 new cases were recorded. However, the U.S. CNBC pointed out that the price of achieving this result was that healthy pigs were slaughtered. Many farms slaughtered all of their pigs because they were worried about the spread of African swine fever.
According to estimates from the Shanghai JCI Consulting Company, China’s pork production will be reduced by 16 percent in 2019, or 8.5 million metric tons, which will result in a pork shortage of around 7 million metric tons. Under the current conditions, a rise in pork prices will be inevitable. The issue of African swine fever has caused active discussions on Chinese blogs. One blogger whose name is “Tangshan Wangzi” wrote, “What happened to China’s pig industry? Take a look. People’s lives are ruined.” Another blogger named “Musalaisi” wrote, “African swine fever can be spread in a number of ways. Prevention is the key. Sterilization of tools is very important. Once this is over, the price of pork will definitely rise.” The blogger named “I am Lin Shu” wrote, “The production of Chinese pork has been cut back, but there is imported pork. Now the domestic pork prices are very bad.”
Washington hopes that China will once again increase imports of U.S. pork in light of the shortage of pork in China. According to Reuters’ data, 90 percent of U.S. exports of pork in 2017 were sold to China. After China imposed a 70 percent responsive tariff on US pork products in 2018, the US exports of pork products to China dropped by 55 percent.
Source: Sputnik News, April 12, 2019