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22

2023

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03

China's Pig Farms Battle New Surge in African Swine Fever [PART ONE]

Source:

Reuters

A surge in African swine fever infections in China is set to reduce hog output later this year, farm managers and analysts said this week, pushing up prices in the world's top pork consumer as demand recovers.

A surge in African swine fever infections in China is set to reduce hog output later this year, farm managers and analysts said this week, pushing up prices in the world's top pork consumer as demand recovers.

The incurable disease has plagued China for years, with an initial wave during 2018 and 2019 killing millions of pigs and leading to a dramatic decline in meat output that roiled global markets. Chinese farms have significantly improved hygiene and procedures since then to reduce the impact of the virus, but it still circulates constantly, often spiking in winter.

 

Infections this year began to surge relatively late in the season, around the Lunar New Year holiday in January, when millions of people travelled after China had relaxed its COVID curbs, said three managers at pig farming companies and analysts.

 

"Data from swine fever virus testing companies show that the number of positive detections exploded after the new year holiday. The order of magnitude in a single month has reached the level of the whole year of 2022," said analysts at Huachuang Securities in a report on Monday. "We guess that the current swine fever infection area in northern production areas may be reaching 50%," it added.

 

Northern provinces such as Shandong and Hebei are among the top producers of hogs.

 

A senior manager at one of the country's top hog producers agreed with the estimate. "We do see quite a lot of new infections in March. We feel it hasn't ended yet, that's the problem," he said, declining to be identified due to the sensitivity of disease outbreaks in China.