African swine fever drives up price of Christmas pork, with other meats set to follow


By Jon Daly, WA Country Hour, ABC Australia

Nov 7, 2019


The price of ham and pork will cost more this Christmas season, with prices on the rise as African swine fever (ASF) continues its deadly march across the globe.


The virus has not reached our shores, but the ramifications of more than a quarter of the world's pigs being wiped are already being felt in the domestic pork market, with other meat prices tipped to rise.


Robert Garreffa, the director of Perth-based wholesaler Mondo Butchers, said fresh pork prices had increased by as much as 40 per cent in the past six months.


"If you're after a quality item, you're definitely going to see price increases," Mr Garreffa said.


The price hike has provided a lifeline to Australian pork producers who have struggled with oversupply and low prices in recent years.


Huge protein shortage


The extent of the price pinch will vary depending on individual products and suppliers, but it is safe to say a portion will hit the hip pocket of consumers.


Mr Garreffa said some smallgoods manufacturers may have purchased pork earlier this year to avoid high ham prices, but if the market trend continues he expects the full extent of price rises to be passed on next Christmas.


The biggest market influencer in all of this is China, which, until a recent outbreak of ASF, consumed and produced half of the world's pigs.


In place of the staggering shortfall in pork supply, China is now rapidly importing beef, sheep, poultry and pork from Australia and abroad.


Meat analyst and trader Simon Quilty said Chinese pork production will plummet 40 per cent by next year, equating to a loss of 15-20 million tonnes.


"It means we're going to see strong global protein prices for beef, chicken and pork for the next three to five years," Mr Quilty said.


The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is predicting a more conservative decline in Chinese production of 25 per cent for 2020.


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