There has been a surge of publicity about the ASF crisis following the OIE’s comments and it’s been widely reported in the media that quarter of the world’s pigs could die as a result of the disease.
The Guardian has reported that in the last year, the spread of ASF has taken policymakers by surprise, and has been particularly devastating in China – home to the world’s largest pig population.
The severity of the crisis means that global pork prices are rising, spurred largely by the demand from China, where as many as 100 million pigs have been lost since ASF broke out there last year.
In recent months, China has been granting export approval to foreign meat plants and signing deals around the world at a dizzying rate. US pork sales to China have doubled, while European pork prices have reached a six-year high.
Alistair Driver, editor of Pig World, said: “There have been suggestions recently from the Chinese government and industry representatives that the Chinese pig herd is ‘bottoming out’ and that we could see a recovery to something like previous levels in 2020.
“However, most global analysts believe this is very optimistic and that there will be a huge deficit in pork production for the foreseeable future.”
Alistair has been interviewed on three BBC radio stations over the past 24 hours – on Radio 4 World Tonight, the World Service and Radio Scotland.