Renewed outbreaks of the fatal African swine fever (ASF) are surging in some parts of southern China following heavy rains according to Reuters, with analysts and industry sources saying it could be a major setback for Beijing’s goal of replenishing pork supplies.
The incurable disease, which is causing problems for countries around the world, caused devastation in China last year when it infected around 40% of the country’s pig herd, shrinking it by 180 million pigs.
ASF fever outbreaks have seen a decline in recent months, but heavy rains and flooding across China’s south since mid-June appear to have triggered fresh cases, hurting restocking efforts, said Zheng Lili, chief analyst with consultancy Shandong Yongyi.
However, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs reported a dozen outbreaks of the fever in March and April, indicating it was spreading before the rains.
A Shandong Yongyi survey of small pig farmers, corporate farmers, traders and slaughterhouses in 20 provinces revealed dozens of African swine fever cases had occurred since the heavy rains in Guangdong province, the Guangxi region and other areas.
Biosecurity measures at many farms in the south are not equipped to resist such rain, said an analyst based in Guangdong, with small pig farmers hit worse than larger facilities.