In this file:
· ‘Not enough pork in the world’ to deal with China’s demand for meat
· China's October pork imports double on year
· Deadly hog virus closes in on one of China’s top pork producers
· China Media: Pig farmers keen on expanding stock as China drums up pork production
‘Not enough pork in the world’ to deal with China’s demand for meat
With hundreds of millions of pigs dead from swine fever, exporters are scrambling to fill the gap. But prices are soaring
Bibi van der Zee, and Michael Standaert in Shenzhen, The Guardian (UK)
23 Nov 2019
The cost of living in China has outstripped the 3% government target for the first time in a decade, and a big part of the problem is the soaring price of pork, which is being driven up by a widespread outbreak of African swine fever (ASF).
Pork is a big deal in China. The average Chinese person gets through about 30kg of pork a year (by comparison, people in US eat about 26kg of beef a year and UK consumers about 18kg). Since August 2018, when China notified the World Organisation for Animal Health that ASF was in the country, the disease has spread with extraordinary speed.
Some 40% of Chinese pigs – hundreds of millions of animals – have now been lost, and the result has been a chronic shortage of pork and rocketing prices. The Chinese government has been forced to dig into its gigantic emergency reserves of frozen meat.
“The producer price has risen 125% since July,” said Rupert Claxton of international food consultancy Girafood. That increase has helped drive up China’s inflation rate, which in October broke through the government target of 3% to hit 3.8%.
Zhu Zhenchun, a restaurateur in Shenzhen, south-east China, told the Observer: “We’re spending about 10,000 yuan more a month just because of the price increase. [That is the equivalent of monthly salaries for two restaurant employees.] Everyone knows this is a problem now. Everyone is hoping the price will come down either before or just after Chinese New Year. If it doesn’t, that could make some people think differently about their businesses.”
Pork imports into China have also rocketed. In September last year 94 million kg were shipped in, but the ASF crisis has pushed imports to 161 million kg this year and officials are now rushing to certify farms in Brazil, Ireland and several other countries for export at an unprecedented rate to satisfy demand. Two weeks ago, they lifted a ban on imports from Canada.
As a result pork prices are rising outside China too. Europe has seen a jump of at least 35% since the beginning of the year. “The problem is that total global pork exports in 2018 were 8 million tonnes, and China is short 24 million,” said Claxton. “There just isn’t enough pork in the world to fill the gap.”
African swine fever is a highly contagious virus which is fatal to pigs. It is extremely hardy, can survive being cooked and processed, and will endure in frozen meat for a number of years. It is transmitted directly between animals, or by the feeding of infected meat, and there have also been cases of infected animal feed.
ASF has been circulating in Europe for a number of years, but it began to spread at a more rapid rate last year. It is now reported in more than 40 countries, and earlier this week was discovered to have leapt 300km across Poland from its easternmost provinces to farms near its western border.
Alistair Driver of UK monthly magazine Pig World said this was extremely concerning. “That is just 70km from the German border, and Germany is one of the largest pork exporters in the world.”
In China, and neighbouring Vietnam, the disease has spread with shocking rapidity, thanks partly to local buying habits:
China's October pork imports double on year
Reporting by Dominique Patton and Muyu Xu; Editing by Clarence Fernandez, Reuters
KFGO (ND) - November 22, 2019
BEIJING (Reuters) - China's pork imports in October doubled from a year earlier, as wholesalers stocked up on supplies after disease decimated the huge hog herd, customs data showed on Saturday.
October arrivals came to 177,426 tonnes, up from the previous month's 161,836 tonnes.
Pork imports for the first ten months of the year stood at 1.5 million tonnes, up 49.4% from the corresponding period a year earlier, data from the General Administration of Customs shows.
The data is for muscle cuts and does not include offal and other non-muscle parts known as 'variety meats'.
Deadly African swine fever has reduced the world's top pig herd by 41%, according to official data, after spreading throughout China and leaving many farmers unwilling to replenish their farms.
The slump in the herd pushed retail pork prices by late October up 148% from a year earlier, to almost 59 yuan ($8.38) per kg, causing food inflation to spike.
China has been opening up its market to new sources of meat, approving dozens of new pork processing plants in Brazil, Argentina and Britain in recent months to help alleviate its protein shortage.
It received its first cargo of Italian pork this week, customs said on its website, while Argentina shipped its first boatload of chilled pork to China.
In the United States, top processor Smithfield has transformed a slaughterhouse to ship pig carcasses to China...
Deadly hog virus closes in on one of China’s top pork producers
By BusinessMirror (Philippines)
November 24, 2019
The deadly swine disease roiling China’s hog farms is getting closer to one of its top overseas suppliers of pork.
African swine fever was found in 20 wild boar in Poland’s western Lubusz province this month, putting the disease within 80 kilometers of Germany, the European Union’s biggest hog producer. While eastern Europe has grappled with the virus for several years, the latest cases show Germany is “increasingly exposed” to a potential spread, the agriculture ministry said.
The EU has been a crucial supplier of pork to China, boosting exports as the Asian country tries to fill a meat shortfall brought on by the unprecedented outbreak. Those trade flows would be at risk if the virus spreads to the EU’s key producers, and the recent Polish cases follow similar ones in Belgium, on the other side of Germany, since last year.
The virus has “jumped further and faster than I think anybody expected,” said Rupert Claxton, meat director at France-based consultant Gira. “The loss of the China market would be a disaster” for the European pork industry if a bigger outbreak were to prompt broad restrictions on exports, he said.
EU pork shipments to China totaled 1.5 million tons in the nine months through September, jumping 55 percent from a year earlier, European Commission data show. That’s helped push pig prices to a six-year high, and China is “buying almost everything,” from hams to hearts to loins, said Tim Koch, a market analyst at AMI in Bonn, Germany.
There haven’t been any cases found in Germany yet, and while it’s unclear what measures China would take if that were to happen, imports from all or part of Germany could be banned. European farmers have been hesitant to expand herds despite the improved demand, partly amid concerns of a disease outbreak...
China Focus: Pig farmers keen on expanding stock as China drums up pork production
Source: Xinhua(China)|Editor: ZX
JINAN, Nov. 23 (Xinhua) -- As authorities of east China's Shandong Province lift the upper limit of land use for a pig farm from 1 hectare, Liang Xiaoliang, a pig farmer in the province has just obtained an approval to enlarge his pigsty.
"As soon as I heard that the policy was in place, I approached the animal husbandry department to apply to add four hectares of pigsty," said the chairman of the Baokangbao Ecological Livestock and Poultry Raising Cooperative in Pingyuan County, Dezhou City of Shandong.
The scale of raising pigs in China's rural areas is controlled as pigsties are not considered environmentally friendly.
However, as the price of pork, a staple meat in China, has been soaring in recent months, mainly affected by the epidemic of African swine fever and cyclical factors, the Chinese authorities have taken a string of policy and financial measures to encourage production and stabilize pork prices.
Liang has been engaged in running the cooperative since 2017 with a stock of about 5,000 pigs. He regards this year's pork price inflation as an opportunity for the business.
Sun Tao, an official of the Shandong Provincial Bureau of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Medicine said the provincial government has allocated more than 65 million yuan (9.2 million U.S. dollars) in temporary production subsidies so far this year to support 45 first-class pig farms in the province, and approved subsidized loans to help pig farms get back on their feet.
By the end of October, Shandong had 17.56 million pork pigs and 835,000 breeding sows in stock insured so that farmers would be worry-free and could further boost production.
Li Liuhang, an official with the provincial animal husbandry department, said the province's pig stock had been slowly increasing for three consecutive months by the end of October, which has contributed to stabilizing pork prices...