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Pig farmers get support to reduce financial pressures

By Wang Xiaoyu | China Daily | Updated: 2019-09-05 09:38
Staff sterilize pigs to prevent African swine fever at a pig farm in Jinhua, East China's Zhejiang province, on Aug 22, 2018. [Photo/VCG]

China plans to boost financial support for pig farmers to stabilize production after the spread of African swine fever has reduced herds in the country.

Pig farmers who are required to slaughter infected hogs will receive subsidies within three months, half the previous period of six months, according to a statement jointly released by the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs on Wednesday.

More subsidies and benefits will be issued to large pig-breeding farms and counties to ease their financial pressure. In the meantime, insurance coverage for breeder female swine and pigs fattened for sale will be increased by about 50 percent, the statement said.

Authorities also plan to promote artificial insemination technology and subsidize farmers who purchase high-quality pig semen to impregnate female pigs.

African swine fever, which is fatal to pigs but not harmful to humans, was first detected in China in August last year. As of early July, 143 outbreaks were recorded in the country and more than 1.16 million pigs were culled to curb virus spread.

The latest case was confirmed on August 26 at a farm with 120 live pigs in Yunnan province's Zhaotong city.

Wholesale prices of pork in China hovered around 20 yuan ($2.80) per kilogram in the first half of this year and have been rising markedly since June, reaching 25 yuan per kg in early August and surpassing 30 yuan per kg two weeks later, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

Data released on Tuesday show that the wholesale pork price last week shot up to a new high of 34.6 yuan per kg, up by nearly 9 percent from the previous week.

The sharp price increase in recent months is in line with predictions from agricultural authorities.

Tang Ke, chief of the market and economic information department at the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, said in mid-July that the spread of African swine fever had slashed the population of hog herds in China and that this would result in strained supply of pork products during the second half of this year, pressuring businesses to raise prices.

"However, the country's overall supply of meat will remain stable this year thanks to increased production of poultry meat, eggs and dairy products, as well as higher imports of pig products," he said.

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