Swine flu pushes China's meat imports up to record levels
CHINA's meat imports are expected to hit a record five million tonnes in 2019 and increase even more next year, according to vice director Wang Bin at the nation's Commerce Ministry
CHINA's meat imports are expected to hit a record five million tonnes in 2019 and increase even more next year, according to vice director Wang Bin at the nation's Commerce Ministry.
The surge in meat purchases comes as China seeks to diversify suppliers to cope with the ravages of African swine fever in the pork market, Bloomberg News reported.
The domestic pork supply is forecast to bounce back in the second half of 2020 as China stabilises its pig production, provided swine fever doesn't return in a big way, said Mr Wang.
With swine fever likely to cut China's hog herd in half to 200 million pigs, the country has imported not only more pork but also beef and chicken. That's had a ripple effect on the global market, with meat prices surging to their highest levels in five years.
Still, with pork prices continuing to hit record highs in China, demand for the meat could dive by 50 per cent, according to the farm ministry's Institute of Food and Nutrition Development in Beijing.
In spite of efforts to buy more meat from overseas, Beijing has said there isn't enough pork available in the world to fill the supply gap left by the disease, and the country needs to rebuild its domestic herd.