Losses due to African swine fever stand at 400 thousand pigs, which will make pork much more expensive.
Representatives of the Romanian Meat Association have given assurances that there will be pork on the domestic market, in spite of the fact that the market is highly affected by the African swine flu and by increased import prices. The price of pork has doubled this year and may triple at the beginning of next year, according to head of the Romanian Meat Association, Radu Timis:
“The situation is quite serious. If we’ve seen prices double this year, I can safely say that they will triple next year, when the main problem will not be the price, but rather the pork supplies on the market. The main challenge will be to find the raw material for production.”
In Romania there are currently over 700 swine fever hotbeds in 28 counties. In the last three years since the disease was first reported in Romania, over 540 thousand pigs were culled. Only two counties in northern Romania are free from the virus. As regards the situation in Europe, the executive director of the Romanian Meat Association, Dana Tanase, has said:
“At European level, hotbeds have become less extensive, in some areas in Poland. In Romania, since the African swine flu outbreak, the number of pigs decreased by 900,000 every year since restrictions have been imposed. Pork imports went up from 306 tons in 2017 to 458 tons last year alone.”
On the other hand, Radu Timis says the Chinese government purchases the entire production of the European companies. One kilo of pork costs 6 euros in China and 4 euros in Romania. According to Radu Timis, a price hike will be seen for all other types of meat. However, pork is still available on the Romanian shelves due to the ban on exports. The crisis does not only affect Romania, but many other countries, so that the food crisis that has been forecast for more than 20 years is closer than ever, Radu Timis has said. A recent European Commission report says that, the increase in global demand for pork is expected to result in a short-term increase of EU pork production and higher prices. The latter could lead to a stronger decline in EU consumption than planned. However, when the Asian meat market recovers, EU production is expected to decline strongly, along with prices, the report also says. According to Bloomberg, the price of pork is expected to reach its highest level in the 15 years.
African swine fever which is harmless to humans but fatal to pigs, was discovered in China in August, where it has caused havoc, leading to more than 1.2m pigs being culled. China is home to almost half of the world’s pigs and the news sent the global price of pork soaring. There is no vaccination for African swine fever, which causes pigs to internally haemorrhage until they die, so the only option to contain the disease is to kill any contaminated animals. (translated by Elena Enache)