Pork prices have been sent soaring and herds devastated as African swine fever tears through China’s pig farming industry, forcing the country to ramp up imports to satisfy demand – but analysts warn worse is yet to come.
More than 1.1 million pigs have been killed or culled so far as authorities scramble to contain a virus that has spread to neighbouring countries since the first cases emerged in August 2018 and for which there is no vaccine.
Rappler reported the figure is widely believed to be much higher, as official data show China’s pig herd totalled 347.6m in the first half of the year, down 60m from the same period last year. Pork prices soared by a fifth in June alone.
“The worst is yet to come,” said Jan-Peter Van Ferneij, who monitors foreign markets at the French Pork Institute.
“For now, it’s the numbers of pigs that are falling. Then it will be production…and consumption will fall.”