November 4, 2019


Farmers in South Korea call for more efforts to normalise pork prices



South Korean farmers are urging local authorities to make efforts to normalise pork prices in the face of the African swine fever outbreak, industry watchers said on November 2.


The local wholesale price of pork reached KRW2,809 (US$2.4) per kilogramme, plunging 28.2% from a year earlier as of end-October, the latest data compiled by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs showed.


The price is far below the production cost estimated at KRW4,200 (US$3.62), according to the Korea Pork Producers' Association.


"With the current level of the price, farmers are losing around KRW150,000 (US$129.45) per pig," an official from the association said.


Local farmers claimed South Korea should refrain from making excessive quarantine operations on local farms and instead focus efforts on preventing the spread of the disease via wild boars.


They also urged the authority to ease related regulations to normalise the local pork industry.


Since mid-September, South Korea has suffered a total of 14 cases of ASF among local pig farms. Quarantine authorities have been culling more than 250,000 pigs since the first-ever outbreak, with some 60,000 more to be slaughtered.


Separately, South Korea also observed 18 ASF cases from wild boars. So far, all reported cases from domestic pigs and wild boars have been in areas bordering the North.


A survey compiled by the Korea Rural Economic Institute on 526 consumers last month showed 45.4% of the respondents had reduced their consumption of pork from a year earlier.


Of the respondents who consumed less pork, 70.3% claimed they were concerned about the safety of the meat.


"Although no ASF cases have been confirmed for more than three weeks since the last case reported on October 9, the price of pork is showing no signs of a recovery," the Korea Pork Board said in a statement.


The organization vowed to launch a campaign to promote the consumption of pork throughout this month, offering discounts and improving the public's awareness of the disease.


- Yonhap

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