Thailand’s pork industry gets unexpected boost from ASF

Demand for Thai pork is increasing dramatically as outbreaks of African swine fever ravage its neighbor’s pig herds.

16 March 2021, at 9:23am

According to reporting in BNN Bloomberg, exports of live pigs from Thailand rose by 339% in 2020 due to its ASF-free status. Shipments of chilled, processed and frozen pork increased by 69% during this period as well. The increase in live pig exports held despite a 6% fall in total exports due to COVID-19.

Though the dramatic rise in Thailand’s pork industry could not counteract the COVID-19-induced recession, Phusit Ratanakul Sereroengrit, director-general of the Commerce Ministry’s Trade Policy and Strategy Office, expects shipments of pork and other food products to continue growing this year. In an email interview with Bloomberg, Phusit said that the government is pushing for Thailand to be “the world’s best quality food producer” and to expand its share of the global food market.

Bloomberg’s analysis says that the industry’s growth trajectory is likely to hold for the next two years until Thailand’s neighbors contain ASF and their herds return to normal levels or efficacious vaccines are available.

Since Asia’s outbreaks of African swine fever began in 2018, more than 6.7 million animals either died from the infection or were culled, according to OIE data. Though outbreaks of ASF were reported in Europe and Africa, 82% of swine losses were in Asian pig herds. Thailand’s ASF-free status will likely be a boon as countries across Asia continue to combat the deadly pig disease.

Read the full analysis in BNN Bloomberg.