Market News & Headlines >> ASF Outbreak in China's Sichuan Province Troublesome

Some farms in China’s top hog-producing province of Sichuan are still battling outbreaks of African Swine Fever that developed early this year with small producers hit hardest, according to trade sources.  

The outbreak is suspected of spreading since early March this year, when a hog farm in Sichuan found ASF cases among its herd leaving 38 pigs dead and another 38 sick animals out of the 127 hogs in the herd, industry sources told Agricensus on Thursday. “It is said the ASF epidemic is getting worse, and some farms are conducting clean-up procedures,” one source said.

"Recently Sichuan is quite serious," Xiao Lin, analyst at Shenzhen-based Win & Fun investment fund told Reuters News Service. According to Reuters Sichuan, located in southwest China, produced 48.5 million hogs for slaughter last year, about 9% of the country's total.

Most of those impacted are small farmers who had relaxed disease prevention measures to reduce costs after hog prices plunged in recent months, said Xiao. Small farmers still account for a relatively large share of hog output in Sichuan, where mountainous terrain limits the number of large farms. Xiao estimated losses at around 10% to 15% of the herd.

There are some concerns the disease could spread further across China’s south and slow its pork production recovery. Xiao said she is watching closely in case swine fever outbreaks spread to nearby Guangxi and Guangdong, both significant hog producing regions. "This won't stop the recovery of the pig herd but it could impact the pace," she said.

However, analysts contacted by Agricensus expect any fallout from the Sichuan ASF epidemic to be limited to the local market, at least for now. “According to our fieldwork in Sichuan and Guizhou province, the ASF situation is getting more severe in June, especially in some private farms,” Xiong Kuan, a senior analyst from the COFCO Group, said in a monthly futures strategy meeting on Wednesday. “But in general, we think it is still limited in some local area, and ASF has not been the main factor to impact the general market yet,” he added.