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Untested vaccines reportedly causing new strains of African swine fever in China

By PhilSTAR L!fe Published Jan 22, 2021 4:12 pm Updated Jan 22, 2021 4:28 pm

Pork prices continue to skyrocket due to dwindling supply, and it looks like prices will remain elevated for quite some time as the Philippines, China, which is the biggest pork producer in the world, and other countries continue to struggle with African Swine Fever (ASF).

The main culprit for the surge in prices was the bout of ASF that devastated local farms, leading various breeders to cull their livestock. The infection, which still has no cure, started in 2019.

The Department of Agriculture estimates that ASF wiped out at least a third of the local supply. Though ASF does not transfer to humans, it is contagious and fatal among pigs.

There seems to be no immediate return to normalcy as an earlier projection by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) said that pork supply this year may dive to a 20-year low.

From the market price of around P290 in Metro Manila in November of 2020, as per data from the National Statistics Office, pork prices now have shot up to P380-P400+.

Consumers have been feeling the pinch as pork prices continue to go up (Fiile photo The Philippine Star)

Due to the growing deficit in local supply, the Department of Agriculture has decided to allow more imports in the country.

But ASF continues to beset various countries as well, including the largest producer and consumer of pork, which is China.

According to a Reuters report, a new form of ASF has been identified in Chinese pig farms that likely came from the use of illicit vaccines. Though the new strain is not as fatal, it reportedly lessens the number of healthy pigs born. With no approved vaccines as of yet, some farms have been resorting to untested products that some experts fear have caused the accidental infections.

Pork prices vs minimum wage
Sen. Leila De Lima said that government now must do more as prices of pork now are even higher than what some are earning on a daily basis.

This was also the lament of a number of Filipinos on social media.

“Halos umabot na sa PHP400 ang kilo ng baboy, ibig sabihin, kailangan mong kumayod nang halos buong araw para lang makabili ng ISANG kilong baboy,” he said.

Twitter user @ninz_isah said that with the current pork prices, one could already have high blood even before you make the purchase.