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China reports lowest pork output since 2003

The National Bureau of Statistics reported that China produced 42.55 million tons of pork in 2019, down 21.3% from 2018.

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Morderska | Freeimages.com

Country, devastated by African swine fever, saw 21.3% lower pork production in 2019

China’s pork output in 2019 was the lowest since 2003, a clear sign of the toll African swine fever (ASF) has taken on the country’s pig producers.

The National Bureau of Statistics reported that China produced 42.55 million tons of pork in 2019, down 21.3% from 2018. The country is experiencing a shortage of more than 10 million metric tons of pork. Rabobank said in October that, with much of Asia’s pig herd decimated, Asia will not have enough pork for 2020.

China is the world’s largest producer and consumer of pork.

China has lost millions of pigs as a result of ASF. The deadly disease was first reported in China in August 2018 and has since spread throughout Asia and elsewhere. The Ministry of Agriculture reported in October that the hog herd had declined 41% from the previous year, but was up 25 in November, possibly due to restocking.

Spike in pork prices

Pork prices in China have spiked since the outbreak started and the country has imported record amounts of meat to meet demand and supplement its production losses. High pork prices are providing incentives for restocking, despite the risks of recontamination of the ASF virus.

The Phnom Penh Post reported that China’s major pig breeders are posting strong sales and higher net profits because of the spike in pork prices.

China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said in a report in early December that “pig production has shown a clear recovery momentum,” with a month-over-month increase in the breeding sow stock of 0.6% in October – the first increase in 19 months.

In December, China’s agriculture minister said more than a dozen of China’s largest pig farms would invest in smaller farms to boost pork production and pull rural families out of poverty. Bolstered by a state-initiated investment of CNY50 billion (US$7.15 billion) 15 of China’s leading pig farms signed 19 agreements with local governments in 16 cities. The agreements are expected to produce more than 22 million hogs per year and involve more than 33,000 poor rural farmers.

View our continuing coverage of the African swine fever outbreak.

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