Almost 5 million pigs in Asia have now died or been culled because of the spread of African swine fever (ASF), a contagious viral disease that affects domestic and wild pigs and that was first detected in Asia one year ago this month. While not dangerous to humans, the disease causes up to 100% fatality in pigs, leading to severe economic losses to the pig sector.
ASF is present in six Asian countries: Cambodia, China, DPR Korea, Lao PDR, Mongolia and Vietnam. The latest data provided by FAO indicates that current losses represent more than 10 percent of the total pig population in each of China, Vietnam and Mongolia.
The outbreak is particularly affecting vulnerable small-scale farmers who may lack the expertise or funds to protect their animals from the disease.
In Vietnam, the pork industry makes up almost 10% of the country’s agriculture sector and pork meat accounts for almost three quarters of meat consumed. The country has, to date, culled approximately three million pigs in an effort to curb the spread of the disease, raising concerns that ASF could contribute to an increase in food insecurity in already-challenged communities.
In China, there are at least 26 million pig farming producers, and about 50 percent of total pork production is by small-scale farmers.
“Some farmers have lost their entire pig herd to the disease and it may take badly-affected countries years to recover from the socio-economic effects of the outbreak,” Lubroth said.
Friday August 9, 2019/ FAO.