In this file:
· Swine fever outbreak may bury China's small pig farmers
· Swine fever threatens China's pork industry
· China reports fewer African swine fever cases
Swine fever outbreak may bury China's small pig farmers
Hallie Gu & Ryan Woo, Reuters
February 1, 2019
CHANGTU COUNTY, China (Reuters) - For farmers Zhang Shiping and Bai Fuqin in northeast China, there is little to celebrate this Lunar New Year.
Since African swine fever struck a farm in nearby Shenyang city last August, the couple has racked up about 300,000 yuan ($44,712.72) in debt, 10 times what they make in a good year raising pigs.
The incurable disease has since traveled thousands of kilometers, striking mainly small farms in the world’s biggest pork-producing country and triggering unprecedented upheaval in China’s $1 trillion hog sector.
Though Zhang’s farm was not infected, measures to halt its spread have effectively killed his family’s livelihood.
Beijing banned the transport of live pigs from infected provinces in September, part of its “protracted war” on a disease that typically takes years to eradicate.
The restrictions crippled trade, particularly in northeast Liaoning province, which produces about a third more pigs than it consumes and relies heavily on exporting.
Prices in the province dropped below 4 yuan per kilogram this month - the lowest price in a decade - just weeks away from the Lunar New Year holiday, normally a time of peak pork demand.
Zhang and Bai got rid of about 30 pigs this month, losing about 800 yuan on each, after feeding them months after they should have been slaughtered while waiting for prices to pick up.
They still have almost 50 left, now so overweight and fatty that no processors want them.
“We can barely survive,” Bai said during an interview at her modest farmhouse in Changtu county, a two-and-a-half-hour drive north of Shenyang, capital of Liaoning.
Bai and three other farmers in Changtu said they would not continue raising pigs, even though they have few other options in the region, one of China’s slowest growing.
Tens of thousands like them are expected to abandon pig farming after months of weak prices and restrictions on moving pigs to market. That will reduce production in the country by one-fifth this year, according to some estimates, and boost prices and demand for cheaper imports.
“I have experienced all kinds of ups and downs in the pig industry. But nothing has been as hard and bitter as this year,” said Sun Hongbo, another Changtu farmer.
He will quit pig farming for good, he added, seeking manual work after the holiday.
Graphic: China pig farming structure in 2016 - tmsnrt.rs/2CM4uHb
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Swine fever threatens China's pork industry
China produces more than half the world's pigs
By Jenni Marsh, CNN
via WISC-TV - Feb 01, 2019
(CNN) - The Year of the Pig might begin next week, but right now it's looking pretty dire for swine in China.
Almost 1 million pigs have been slaughtered over the past six months as the country battles African swine fever. And with no sign of the disease coming under control, more culls are set to come which could cripple the domestic pig farming industry.
China produces more than half the world's pigs -- 700 million a year. Most of those stay within China's borders, with just 1.6 million exported last year, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.
African swine fever is not harmful to humans and is unlikely to become zoonotic -- pass from animals to humans -- in our lifetime, says Dirk Pfeiffer, an expert in infectious diseases at City University of Hong Kong. But the most virulent strain of the disease is almost 100% deadly to pigs.
The Chinese government has set up epidemic zones across the country, restricted the movement of live pigs, and closed live pig markets in affected areas. Pfeiffer said that if not brought under control, the outbreak could ruin millions of small pig farms across the nation.
"A big part of the problem is the very high percentage of small- to medium-sized producers who are likely to not be able to implement the required biosecurity measures (to stop the disease spreading)," Pfeiffer said.
"The effect of this epidemic will be that the number of small farms will reduce, and more large farms will be set up, or existing large ones will increase their production capacity"...
China reports fewer African swine fever cases
Source: Xinhua (China) | Editor: yan
BEIJING, Feb. 1 (Xinhua) -- China's agriculture authority on Friday reported a falling number of African swine fever cases and vowed to continue to take preventive measures.
By February 1, 92 infected areas in 23 provinces have been unlocked. Seventeen provinces including Henan, Liaoning, Zhejiang and Anhui have been freed from the epidemic with all of the infected zones unblocked, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.
The epidemic has shown signs of abating since December 2018. Five cases were reported in January 2019. However, the ministry cautioned that the prevention work remains grim since the existing situation will linger for a period of time.