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The Impact of African Swine Fever on China Is Not Less Than a War

According to a Caixin article, the African swine fever hasn’t merely pushed the pork prices in China to a record high. Some Chinese experts have estimated that the direct losses that the African swine fever caused will reach RMB 1 trillion. Experts also said that the impact is “nothing less than what a war would bring.” It has hit the poverty alleviation efforts, an official priority, rather hard. The government is striving to eliminate the impact and has taken steps to encourage a reduction in the consumption of pork.

Caixin published a quote from Li Defa, an Academician from the Chinese Academy of Engineering. He is the Dean of the College of Animal Science and Technology at the China Agricultural University and Vice-Chairman of the World Livestock Product Association. At a forum on pigs on September 24, 2019, Li expressed that, based on estimates, the direct loss due to African swine fever is 1 trillion yuan, not considering the upstream and downstream of the industrial chain.

Li said that half of the pigs in the world are produced in China and African swine fever has taught a lesson to Chinese animal husbandry. “It is impossible to prevent epidemics and diseases. The cost of this loss is too great.”

According to Caixin, in May 2019, Qiu Huaji, the director of the Pig Infectious Diseases Research Office of the Harbin Veterinary Research Institute under the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences published a report in the “Shanhe Forum” of the Chinese pig industry on the theory and practice of prevention and control of African swine fever. He said in the report that the impact of African swine fever is wide-ranging. “Although it does not cause human fatalities, the economic losses, the impact on the national economy, the people’s livelihood, and the political, economic, and social impact are nothing less than war.”

In his May 2019 report, Qiu said that some people say that there are 100 million employees in the upstream and downstream of the pig industry, but there are countless families behind these billion people, so the impact is comprehensive. He further said that another important consequence is the impact on “helping the poor and tackling the hardships.” Getting people out of poverty is one of the most important achievements of Xi Jinping, the CCP Secretary.

The Caixin article is no longer available at its website.

Source: RFI, September 25, 2019