The global pork market is slowly recovering from African Swine Fever and other difficulties, but the disease will roil the trade in pork for some time to come, according to a report from Rabobank.
African Swine Fever has, over the last few years, wiped out more than half the hogs in China, the world’s largest producer and consumer of pork. The Rabobank report says that while the impact on the disease is lessening, “we maintain the view that full recovery will not be possible before, and more likely after, 2023.”
A complicating factor is the appearance of swine fever in Germany. This led to a ban on imported German pork by China and nine other nations, although Germany was successful in redirecting most of the 700,000 tons of excess pork resulting from the bans.
The Rabobank report predicts that China will import from 10% to 30% less pork this year than last, when pork imports set a record. The U.S. increased its share of Chinese pork imports substantially in 2020, thanks to competitive prices and a new trade deal.
The report says that, given the ability of the swine fever virus to mutate, biosecurity will be the most effective way to defend against it. Tyson Foods’ executive for regulatory policy told a recent agricultural outlook forum held by the USDA that her company has been holding preparedness exercises relating to preventing swine fever outbreaks. These include increased tracing of animals and finding cleaning/disinfecting chemicals that were validated for African Swine Fever.