Tuesday , May 18 2021

A new blow to China because African pig fever is found in wild boar

China's efforts to halt the spread of African swine fever have been a new blow on Friday when the agriculture ministry confirmed it had found the first case in wild boar, deepening the three-month-old crisis for the world's largest pork producer.

The country also confirmed the first outbreak in the southwestern province of Sichuan, the country's leading pig grazing region, increasing the likelihood of a major impact on pork supply in the coming months.

The disease was found in a dead wild boar in the city of Bastian, Jilting province, in northeast China, the ministry of agriculture and Rural Affairs said.

"New cases mean it will be more difficult to control African swine fever. How do you control wild boar? "Said Yah Guiding, an analyst with a China-American Commodity Data Analysis consultant.

China has banned the transportation of live pigs and products from areas infected with African swine fever and neighboring provinces to control the spread of highly contagious diseases, and prohibits feeding of kitchen waste to hogs.

But the virus continues to spread despite government efforts, with more than 60 outbreaks in 18 provinces across the country since early August.

China's large wild boar population, which can harbor disease without showing symptoms, is estimated at around 33.5 million, according to Reuters calculations based on data from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.

The local government in Jilting has inspected neighboring areas frequented by wild pigs and conducted thorough sterilization of all pig farms in the area, the agriculture ministry said in a statement.

Analysts say the discovery of wild boar shows that the virus can be brought to China by animals from other countries.

China has blamed the provision of kitchen waste to pigs for the spread of the disease.

The highly contagious disease was also found on a farm consisting of 40 pigs in Yibin city, southeast of Sichuan.

"With the new case in Sichuan, all the main pig production provinces have now fallen. The situation is very severe, "Yah said.

China slaughters around 700 million pigs per year. Sichuan produced nearly 66 million in 2017, according to official data, more than any other province.

Sichuan is also the province with the highest per capita pig consumption in China at 36kg, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics.

The provincial authority in Sichuan issued a ban last week on the import of all live pigs and pork products from other regions in an effort to prevent this disease.

But Yibin is close to the Sichuan border with the Chongqing municipality and Guizhou province, both of which have reported outbreaks.

The price of pigs in Cheng, the capital of Sichuan, is currently the highest in the country, thanks to strong local demand and turmoil after the disease infected the nearby provinces.

Prices fell 0.2 yuan on Friday from the previous day to 17.7 yuan ($ 2.55) per kg, according to data compiled by China-America Commodity Analytics.

The discovery of African swine fever in Sichuan occurred less than three months before the Chinese New Year celebrations in early February which marked the period of China's peak demand for pork.

There is no cure and there is no vaccine for this disease, and the virus can last for weeks in pork and animal feed.


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