Friday, 17 January 2020 08:32

Disease likely to curb pork import — report

Written by  Staff Reporters
African swine fever has wiped out over half of China’s swine herd. African swine fever has wiped out over half of China’s swine herd.

The worsening outbreak of African swine fever throughout Asia and Europe has created a rare opportunity for New Zealand meat producers.

African swine fever (ASF) has led to dwindling swine herds overseas, reducing import competition for local firms. 

While imported pork accounted for 60% of NZ consumption in 2018-19, this trend is expected to fall significantly in 2019-20.

IBISWorld analysis has shown that the disease, which first appeared in August 2018, has wiped out over half of China’s swine herd, which previously accounted for close to half of global supply.

“Supply shortages have increased beef export and domestic prices, boosting returns for exporters and wholesalers as well as benefiting New Zealand farmers,” said Senior Industry Analyst, Matthew Reeves.

Unlike pork, beef is heavily export oriented and the rising demand from China in the second half of 2018-19 saw beef exports to the country increase approximately 64% in value during the year, to total $944 million. In a similar vein, and emphasising the rising demand for alternative protein sources, lamb exports to China increased over 47% in value during 2018-19, to total $2.6 billion.

“For farmers and processors that are export oriented, this trend could allow enable them to expand their market share, and it may even create new opportunities for domestically focused enterprises to expand their supply chains overseas,” said Mr Reeves.

 ASF is a highly contagious viral disease that affects both wild and domestic pigs. IBISWorld estimates that pork production in China fell by a quarter over the 11 months to June 2019, and by over 50% by the end of December 2019. 

The spread of ASF is expected to continue in 2020, with at least 11 countries in Asia reporting outbreaks including Mongolia, Vietnam, South Korea and Indonesia. Many countries in Eastern Europe, as well as Belgium have also reported outbreaks.

China is the largest market for pork meat, consuming half the global total. As pork supplies have dwindled, China’s demand for imports of substitute meats, such as beef and lamb, has grown significantly.

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