'Chinese Swine Flu outbreak could lead to greater export opportunities for Irish pigmeat exports'
The outbreak of African Swine Fever in China could lead to increased exports for Irish pigmeat to the country in the medium term, Director of Meat Industry Ireland (MII) Cormac Healy has said.
In recent weeks more than 200,000 pigs have been culled in the northern region of China due to the outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF) and on Sunday it was announced that the disease has spread to the southern region of the country.
While Mr Healy said in the short-term the Chinese situation could lead to increased domestic production which would dampen demand, he added that Ireland has the potential to take advantage of the situation in the medium term if significant culling occurs in the Asian country.
“The ASF outbreaks in China have created a great deal of uncertainty there in the short-term. It presents a major challenge to China’s pig sector and will certainly have an impact on domestic production and output there,” he said.
“In the short-term it could lead to more domestic product coming onto the market which would dampen import demand. That said, restrictions on movement of pigs within China could lead to some regional shortages.
“However, in the medium term, as we move into next year, if significant culling within the domestic Chinese pig herd takes place, then it should create greater import opportunities.”
However, Mr Healy said it is important that the Irish industry is conscious of ASF closer to home as last month it was announced that the disease had spread from eastern Europe to wild boar in Belgium.
“The recent outbreak of ASF in wild boars in southern Belgium has the EU pig sector on edge. The response of most international markets has been to close there border to Belgian pork.