November 22, 2019
Hong Kong looks to import swine from Southeast Asia and South Korea
Hong Kong considers importing swine from Malaysia, Thailand and South Korea as prices of pork from China have increased because of falling supplies, reported Reuters.
Over 4,000 swine are imported daily from China to Hong Kong swine processing facilities, but supplies have fallen from late last year because of the African swine fever (ASF) disease that has affected China. Hong Kong only imports 1,700 swine daily from China currently.
ASF has also resulted in increased swine prices in Hong Kong - 159 HKD (~US$20.31; 1 HKD = US$0.13) per kg in the year to September, matching price hikes in China.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported that Hong Kong's swine consumption in 2018 was 550,000 tonnes, more per capita than most nations.
Sophia Chan, Hong Kong Food and Health Secretary said Hong Kong has been in contact with authorities from Malaysia, Thailand and South Korea regarding the possibility of importing swine from those countries.
Chan said the city has to exercise caution with ASF spreading rapidly in neighbouring countries, including public health and food safety considerations when importing live swine.
Chan added that the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department will be making a business visit to Singapore to explore its live swine import regulations from Malaysia by sea.
The authority was requested to explore additional swine import sources and has scheduled discussions focusing on the viability and work needed to protect the city against ASF when importing swine from the proposed countries.
South Korea has culled 380,000 swine, or 3% of its total swine population since ASF was first reported in the country. There have been no new cases since October 10, 2019.
Malaysia or Thailand has not reported any ASF cases. Thailand is currently on high alert as neighbouring Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar have reported positive ASF cases.