China African Swine Fever: New Cases Reported Across Provinces
(Photo: Alexandra München)
New African swine fever cases were reported across different provinces in China this week. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said despite new outbreak, the situation remained to be under control and necessary precautions are put in place.
A total of 194 pigs out of 1,093 were culled in Hunan, Jilin, and Jiangxi to stop the spread of the disease.
On Thursday, a new outbreak was also detected in China's Fujian province. Eighty-five pigs out of 4,521 hogs raised on a local farm in Putian city were found to be infected and died subsequently.
The ministry has deployed a team to Fujian province to assess the situation and to strengthen precautionary means to prevent the disease from spreading further into nearby regions. Fujian's local authorities, meanwhile, has already implemented an emergency response measures to either culled or disinfect infected hogs.
The ministry assured that the situation is being handled properly.
For instance, in Sichuan province, which is the nation's top pig producer, imports of all live hogs are already prohibited, as well as imports of hogs products. The ban was in effect since Nov. 8 and will continue to be so up until authorities determine the safety of the animals from the deadly African swine fever.
China saw nearly 50 cases of African swine fever outbreaks since August. Just within the past three months, the deadly animal disease has spread to 12 Chinese provinces.
While the disease could be fatal to pigs, there is still an unknown deadly impact on humans. Furthermore, it cannot jump from one species to another. There is no vaccine currently available to treat or eradicate the disease.
African swine fever outbreak in China happens as New Year nears. Meat consumption has been at its highest level during Chinese New Year as seen in the past years.
With the outbreaks impacting the supply in the country, agencies are bracing for price hikes of pig products for the holiday season. It is expected that prices will star to rice by December and the trend will continue in the days that lead up to the New Year in February.
China has a voracious demand for pig meat at about 55 million tons of pork or about two-thirds of all Chinese meat consumption. With this, the pork industry is also one important slice of the country's economy. In fact, the government sees to it that the country has a strategic pork reserve.
To understand how big China's demand for pig meat is, note that Alibaba's Win-Chain has signed an agreement with the Danish Crown, Europe's largest pork producer. Under the agreement, the Danish company will deliver 250 tons of Danish pork per week from its factory in China for five years. The agreement is worth at $340 million.