African swine fever may increase pork sales to China

The disease could also compensate for lower revenues from soybeans

Published in 22/05/2019 - 16:42 By Pedro Peduzzi - Brasília

African swine fever will bring a window of opportunities or Brazilian pork exports to Asian countries, chiefly China. The statement was made by Tereza Cristina, Brazil’s minister for Agriculture, Livestock, and Supply, during a lower house hearing held today (May 22).

The minister has just returned from a trip to Asia, during which she visited Japan, Vietnam, Indonesia, and China. “Today, because of the African fever, the Chinese need to import a lot of pork,” she said. “And the whole world cannot provide the Chinese with the amount of pork they need,” she added. “If we’re sensible enough and follow the protocol, we’ll have a great market.”

Tereza Cristina went on to note that, for the Brazilian goods to be successful, the country needs credibility offering products that meet all requirements made by China.

African swine fever is a highly contagious disease that, despite not affecting human beings, spreads quickly among animals. The virus was reported to have been detected in September 2018 in pigs in China and Romania. The illness was also found in boars in Belgium.

Other Asian countries are facing the same problem, the minister said. However, its magnitude has not yet been ascertained, as governments are yet to release clear reports on the gravity of the issue.

Minister Tereza Cristina had declared that the African swine fever would impact sales of soybeans to the Chinese, as it is used as animal feed, but could also represent opportunities for pork exports. “Imagine 200 million fewer animals consuming soybeans,” she said at the hearing.

In the first quarter of 2019, Brazil’s sales of ground soybeans to China ($4.75 billion) accounted for nine percent of the total exports ($52.6 billion). In this time span, out of every $100 made from selling this product across the world, $77.48 came from China.

Translation: Fabrício Ferreira -  Edition: Maria Claudia / Nira Foster

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