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

African Swine Fever Persists In China


Despite control measures introduced since the advent of African swine fever in 2018, authorities in China are unable to suppress the infection that now can be regarded as endemic.  Given experience in the Iberian Peninsula in the 1970s and more recently in Eastern Europe, African swine fever will not be controlled without the availability of an effect vaccine and also with restructuring of the industry. 

Authorities in China continually press to increase domestic production in the face of infection. This is delusional. Consistently data relating to incidence rates has either been distorted or suppressed. Spurious conclusions are drawn from statistics of doubtful authenticity.  An example was the announcement on April 17th that the hog population rose by 10 percent or 10 million hogs during the first quarter of 2020.  There was effectively no slaughter during the large part of the three-month period due to COVID-19 restrictions. This closed plants and prevented movement of hogs from numerous small farms to central processing plants resulting in on-farm retention or non-recorded local sales into a rising market.


China has over 25 million hog farms with up to 10 million comprising small family operated units.  It is only by establishing integrated hog production with high levels of biosecurity that disease can be controlled and then only with the availability of an effective vaccine.  Attempts to restock farms with imported or domestic breeding stock have failed due to outbreaks of African swine fever following depopulation and decontamination, suggesting defects in biosecurity.


To compensate for the deficit in domestic production China has booked 424,000 metric tons of pork from the U.S. for delivery in 2020. During the third week of April, China ordered 35,000 metric tons of pork for immediate delivery. In April the USDA projected total pork exports to be 3,397 million metric tons for 2020, 25.7 percent of projected production

Copyright © 2020 Simon M. Shane