By the end of 2019, African swine fever is expected to have eliminated half of China’s pig herd in a 12-month span, according to analysts at Rabobank.
The bank said China’s herd, by far the world’s biggest, was already estimated to have shrunk by 40 percent from a year ago, well above official estimates which have ranged from 15 to 26 percent.
The forecast comes amid industry speculation that the decline has been much worse than confirmed by agriculture officials, who this month launched an investigation of local authorities’ efforts to contain the disease.
Output of pork, China’s favorite meat, will likely drop by a further 10 to 15 percent in 2020, it said in a report.
Production may take more than five years to recover to levels prior to the deadly outbreaks because there is not a cure or vaccine for the disease, and capital to restock is limited.
Rabobank estimated China’s pig herd at 360 million animals in late 2018.