China announces plans for 70 percent self-sufficiency in southeast pork production

China's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs issued a three-year plan to speed recovery of pig production, targeting 70 percent self-sufficiency in pork for the nation's southeast.

6 December 2019, at 10:11am

Beijing said its hog herd was down 41 percent in October from a year earlier, after the epidemic of African swine fever killed millions of pigs and stopped many farmers from replenishing herds.

Analysts and industry insiders believe the damage may be worse, with some estimating the herd has dropped by 60 percent or more.

With consumer inflation close to an eight-year high and the country's peak consumption period during the Lunar New Year holiday in late January just weeks away, Beijing has repeatedly said its pig stocks will soon recover.

The plan, dated 4 December, reiterated a target for pig stocks to stop falling and start picking up by the end of this year, and for production to recover to close to normal levels by the end of 2020.

China issued a series of policies in September aimed at supporting the recovery of hog production, and the plan includes many of those.

It also said the previously announced subsidies for large-scale farms must be issued on time and land permits simplified.

Stronger financial support and insurance must be given to pig breeders, and help for small and medium-sized farmers to resume production, the plan said.

The plan outlines as well a goal to improve the prevention and control of African swine fever and to regulate reporting of outbreaks.

"Once suspected outbreaks are found in various places, they must be standardised and reported as soon as possible," it said.

The plan also clarifies a regional layout, with the northeast, northern and central south regions, including Hunan, Hubei and Guangxi provinces, to remain major pig production areas that will supply other parts of the country.

The populous southeast coastal provinces of Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Guangdong and Fujian as well as the cities of Tianjin, Beijing and Shanghai must also achieve a self-sufficiency rate of around 70 percent for pork.

Southwest and northwest regions including Sichuan should achieve basic self-sufficiency.