China to Release Pork Reserves

Ahead of the Chinese New Year, China said it will release 20,000 metric tons of frozen pork in state-held reserves as it tries to deal with the shortfall due to African swine fever.

China released more than 100,000 metric tons of pork from state reserves last month. A Chinese Agriculture Ministry official told the South China Morning Post that the African swine fever impact is still severe and complex, adding the risk of outbreaks rise with the increase of live hogs in the nation.

China’s sow herd declined by 40 percent or more since the initial outbreak of ASF in the nation. However, Chinese officials say the herd has increased two percent in December. Restocking the herd poses the risk of recontamination, if efforts to eliminate the presence of the disease in pork producing facilities failed.

For U.S. producers, China’s ASF troubles and the expected signing of a phase one trade agreement provide export opportunity as China is the largest producer and consumer of pork on the globe.