In this file:


·         China acknowledges domestic pork shortage

Rising prices are now a top political concern for Beijing


·         China swine fever outbreak threatens Communist party’s reputation

Epidemic has sparked rapid rise in pork prices and pushed CPI to six-year high



China acknowledges domestic pork shortage

Rising prices are now a top political concern for Beijing


By Alex Binkley, Contributor, Manitoba Co-operator (Canada)

October 8, 2019


News reports from Asia indicate the Chinese government is finally having to own up about that country’s pork shortages due to African swine fever (ASF) and trade disputes.


The South China Morning Post has reported that Chinese Vice-Premier Hu Chunhua has been assigned to oversee the issue of rising pork prices that could mar October’s 70th anniversary celebrations of the Communist Party’s takeover of the country.


The severe extent of China’s hog losses because of the deadly pig disease became clear in late April at the Ottawa conference on stopping ASF from reaching the Americas. It seemed clear then that China was blocking shipments of Canadian canola because it no longer needed the feed and not because of the alleged contamination that it has yet to explain to the satisfaction of Canadian officials. There was no immediate indication the situation in China could lead to an end to the ban on Canadian pork and beef imports, again said to be unjustified.


A sharp rise in pork prices has hurt China, the world’s second-largest economy, and stoked outspoken public concern in recent weeks, the news report said.


China’s State Council recently issued new guidelines calling on local governments and various government departments to boost the national pork supply. The news report also said that stabilizing pig production amid rapidly rising pork prices has overtaken the 14-month trade war with the United States and the three months of political unrest in Hong Kong as China’s top priority.


“Pig farming is an important industry that matters to the nation’s plan and people’s living,” the State Council said. “Pork is the main meat for most Chinese residents. It has significant meaning in terms of ensuring people’s lives, stabilizing prices, keeping stable economic operation and maintaining overall social stability.”


The latest Chinese consumer price index showed that pork prices rose 46.7 per cent in August compared to a year earlier, almost double the 27 per cent rise in July.


This month Hu inspected pig farms and slaughterhouses throughout China, urging local governments to do whatever is necessary to increase the pork supply.


He also told a national conference on Aug. 30 that it was not only an economic but also a political imperative to ensure a sufficient supply of pork, a staple of the Chinese diet.


“If people can’t access or be able to afford pork in 2020, when China will become a comprehensively well-off society, it will seriously affect the achievements of a well-off society and hurt the image of the party and the state,” Hu said.


Environment Minister Li Ganjie said it is “a critical political task now to safeguard live hog production and ensure pork supply.”


The ministry is now prohibiting local governments from creating “no-pig zones” in the name of environmental protection, in a marked U-turn in policy after China closed hundreds of thousands of pig farms in recent years to safeguard local conditions.


Other government agencies from the Ministry of Transportation to the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission have also been mobilized to help boost the supply of pork...





China swine fever outbreak threatens Communist party’s reputation

Epidemic has sparked rapid rise in pork prices and pushed CPI to six-year high


Sun Yu in Yangxin County, Financial Times

Oct 8, 2019


Halfway up a rugged mountain in Yangxin County in the central Chinese province of Hubei, Shi Jianguo is trying new ways to defeat African swine fever, a disease that has wiped out more than half of his pigs.


Instead of killing and burying or burning sick animals, as the government has said farmers should do, he has been relying on a supersized mosquito coil to fend off the disease, using traditional Chinese medicine to protect his herd and selling the animals to the local slaughterhouse before their symptoms become visible — even though Beijing banned the practice for fear it could exacerbate the spread of the disease.


“In the beginning, the government would subsidise us to cull pigs once the disease breaks out,” said the 32-year-old who has been farming for a decade. “Now the government does nothing and we sell sick pigs to shore up our losses.”


Mr Shi is among tens of thousands of Chinese pig farmers adopting their own practices to deal with a swine fever epidemic that Beijing sees as a threat to economic stability and the reputation of the Communist party.


Pork accounts for more than 60 per cent of meat consumption in China and the outbreak has slashed the country’s pig population by 39 per cent. The epidemic has sent prices surging by more than two-thirds in August from a year earlier, helping to push up China’s consumer price index to a six-year high.


The problems in Yangxin are a microcosm of the challenges facing the country to contain the outbreak.


Farmers and analysts say government mis-steps have been an important contributor to the crisis, with poor policy threatening to make the disease a chronic issue despite efforts to revive the pig farming industry…