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Email Content: Poultry Industry News, Comments and more by Simon M. Shane

ASF Will Restructure Pork Production in China


It is estimated that 40 percent of output amounting to around 700 million hogs annually are derived from small farms with less than 400 animals. With primitive facilities and deficient biosecurity, small-scale farmers are disproportionately impacted by African Swine Fever (ASF) compared to large integrations. Quarantine of variable intensity has prevented farmers from shipping hogs to distant abattoirs for slaughter. The cost of holding hogs for extended periods has wiped out profit even in farms unaffected by the disease.

African Swine Fever is especially hard on farmers who rely on the seasonal demand over the lunar new-year holiday that began on January 5th and is characterized by high domestic consumption. It is ironic that the current lunar year is termed “the year of the pig” given the advent of the infection.

It is obvious that as small growers exit production, the small but rising number of integrated producers will be able to expand to satisfy demand.

Perhaps in anticipation of ASF and also declining foreign trade, the centrally planned government of China in 2018 initiated a campaign to reduce excessive consumption of protein and especially pork, both on economic and health grounds.

Given the structure of the hog industry in China, and the history of control and eradication of ASF in the EU, producers can anticipate an endemic status for the disease in the foreseeable future even if an effective vaccine is introduced. Integration is inevitable resulting in a decline in the support structure for small-scale farmers concentrated in areas of high density of hogs. This includes many feed mills and will extend further back through the production chain to companies crushing imported soybeans from the U.S. and Brazil.

Copyright 2019 Simon M. Shane