Experts say global food companies at risk, but how?
The Kingdom of eSwatini has placed an embargo on the importation of pigs from South Africa.
The announcement was made today by the country’s director of veterinary and livestock services, Xolani Dlamini. She said the decision was made in the interests of the people of the kingdom as the dreaded African Swine Fever (ASF) is fast becoming a menace in South Africa.
The eSwatini director of veterinary and livestock services said the embargo will affect live pig importation from South Africa due to the outbreak of the disease in neighboring South Africa.
She made the statements while speaking to the Swazi Observer.
Although the African Swine Fever (ASF) is highly contagious and fatal among pigs, it does not affect humans. The unavailability of a vaccine against it is what makes it more dangerous.
So, it is safe to say that the embargo is a measure to safeguard swine livestock in the country from getting contaminated by those already infected from South Africa.
Dlamini also said his office would introduce a system to identify and track pigs.
“Importations are only from slaughterhouses and establishments that are located in ASF-free zones and also source their slaughter stock from registered and supervised disease-free compartments,” she said.
[You will recall that last month, South Africa’s agricultural ministry said the outbreak of the disease had spread to a fourth province in the country.
African swine fever kills pigs and has no treatment or vaccine, although clinical trials to develop a vaccine are ongoing.
The disease is not harmful to humans. In fact, if a pig dies of African swine fever, its meat can still be safely eaten according to guidelines.
It broke out at a Chinese farm last August.
However, it is no longer confined to China with reported in Poland, South Africa, North Korea, Mongolia, Cambodia, and Vietnam, though pork production in these countries is far less significant than in China.
Lean hog futures are currently pricing in a 12% price rise for June 2020, while whey exports, often used in pig feed, are down significantly. Of course, beef and chicken consumption could also benefit from increased demand as pork becomes more expensive and other proteins are substituted for it.
The market reaction has been varied so far. Currently, major U.S. protein producer Tyson Foods is up approximately 50% for 2019, though they aren't seeing any benefit yet.
According to the CEO stated; "It is difficult to predict when African swine fever might positively impact our pork business. However, we believe any financial benefit will likely occur in late 2019 or later".
Header Image Credit: MODERN AFRICA ONLINE
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