Vietnam confronts pork shortage until 2020 as African swine fever takes its toll

By Phuong Dong   June 30, 2019 | 12:30 pm GMT+7
Vietnam confronts pork shortage until 2020 as African swine fever takes its toll
Vietnam has the seventh largest number of pigs in the world, 30 million, and is the sixth largest pork producer. Photo by Reuters.

The African swine fever outbreak will see Vietnam suffer a 500,000-ton shortage of pork from July to next February, says global consulting firm Ipsos Consulting.

The shortage will be equivalent to 20 percent of Vietnam’s total demand for pork from July to the Lunar New Year holiday, Tet, which falls around February 2020, a report by the firm said.

Vietnam has culled 2.6 million pigs as a result of the incurable disease (not affecting humans) appearing in 60 of the 63 provinces and cities in the country. As of June, the total number of sows in the country is estimated to have dropped by 30 percent against the same time last year.

Small livestock farmers have been affected the most due to the lack of preventive measures and biosecurity, the report said.

Demand for pork is in decline as people temporarily cut down on consumption over health concerns. Many families, restaurants and food producers have also replaced pork in their diets and menus with poultry and other livestock.

Although demand will continue to fall, supply will be even more affected, leading Ipsos to predict such a large shortage until the Tet holiday. As a result, there will be four clear market trends: increased pork imports and pork prices, and increased demand for branded pork and other types of meat.

According to Vietnam Customs, Ho Chi Minh imported four times the amount of pork in the first six months (up to June 19) compared to the same period last year. Enterprises spent an estimated total of $7 million on imports, of which around 4,000 tons were frozen pork.

These came mainly from the US, Canada, Spain, Germany, and Poland. The increase in imports, plus the fact that livestock households have not dared to re-herd, will continue to push pork prices up and affect the consumer price index (CPI) from now until the first months of 2020, said Vietnam Customs.

Vietnam has the seventh largest number of pigs in the world, 30 million, and is the sixth largest pork producer. Pig farming provides a livelihood to 2.4 million households, according to official figures.

Pork is a main ingredient in Vietnamese diet. The Ministry of Industry and Trade is looking at frozen pork supplies as a plan to deal with the expected shortage.

The latest data from the World Organization for Animal Health shows 13 countries and territories are suffering from new or ongoing outbreaks of the disease: Belgium, Hungary, Latvia, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, mainland China, Hong Kong, North Korea, Vietnam, and South Africa.

 
 
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