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The global economic consequences of a major African swine fever outbreak in China

Who we are

This webtool was developed by Soonho Kim, Nicola Cenacchi, the IMPACT modeling team at IFPRI (Keith Wiebe, Tim Sulser and Shahnila Dunston) and the Food Security Portal team (Rob Vos, Betina Dimaranan, Brendan Rice, and Sara Gustafson). For any comments or feedback please contact Soonho Kim (soonho.kim@cgiar.org)

As the world deals with the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, the international community has started discussing more intently about how land use change, and the conversion of natural habitats to agricultural or urban ecosystems can affect the risk, and emergence of zoonotic diseases in humans as well as spread of new pathogens and diseases in livestock.

African swine fever (ASF) is a virulent disease of pigs originating in Africa. It has recently spread to east Asia and was recorded for the first time in China in 2018, where it has close to 100% mortality. By the summer of 2020 China has experienced several outbreaks and by some accounts the country lost 180 million pigs or about 40% of total.

 

China is the largest world producer of pig meat. It is therefore important to explore what may be the consequences of a major epidemic in China on pork production and consumption, on the incomes of pork producers, but also on feed markets, as well as on the demand for alternatives to pork meat, and how this may affect the diets and the food security of consumers in areas directly and indirectly affected by the disease.

We explore results under five different assumptions or scenarios. In the 5 scenarios pig production in China remains constant (S0, no ASF outbreak) or is reduced by 20, 40, 60 or 80% due to the virus (the scenarios are respectively labeled S20, S40, S60 and S80). All the figures below show the effects of the four outbreak scenarios compared to the reference scenario S0. 
 

Key findings

African swine fever is a deadly porcine disease that has spread into East Asia where it is having a detrimental effect on pork production. However, the implications of African swine fever on the global pork market are poorly explored. Two linked global economic models are used to explore the consequences of different scales of the epidemic on pork prices and on the prices of other food types and animal feeds.

The model projects

global pork prices increasing by 17–85% and unmet demand driving price increases of other meats.

This price rise reduces

the quantity of pork demanded but also spurs production in other parts of the world, and imports make up half the Chinese losses.

Demand for, and prices of, food types

such as beef and poultry rise, while prices for maize and soybean used in feed decline.

There is a slight decline

in average per capita calorie availability in China, indicating the importance of assuring the dietary needs of low-income populations

Projections for calorie availability

are mixed outside China, reflecting the direct and indirect effects of the African swine fever epidemic on food and feed markets.

Reference Scenario

China currently (2018) produces about 55 million metric tons (Mt) of pork per year, from more than 700 million slaughtered pigs. Our simulations assume a reduction of pigs that leads to a decline in pork production in China of between 10 and 40 Mt in the four scenarios representing increasingly severe ASF epidemics. This represents cuts of 9–34% in global production (120 Mt in 2018) compared to a reference scenario without an ASF epidemic. The reference scenario assumes own-price elasticities based on historical trends and which vary from country to country. To explore uncertainty in how sensitive consumers would be to changes in pork prices, we implemented all scenarios under elasticities half and double the reference assumption.

Reference scenario: pork production, price, and average per capita food demand
Tableau visualization
Reference scenario in selected commodity markets in China and globally
Tableau
Reference scenario on calorie availability and risk of hunger
Tableau

Interactive scenarios

This study uses economic modelling of the global food system to examine some of the potential consequences of a major disruption of pig production in China. The modelling approach first considers the direct and a number of indirect consequences of the disruption of the supply of pork on the prices of pork and other food types. Second, the model is used to explore the sensitivity of the results to different assumptions about supply and demand responses. Five scenarios, where pig production in China remains constant (S0) or is reduced by 20, 40, 60 or 80% (S20 and so on), are explored. When we conceived this project, these scenarios spanned the possible range of epidemic severities. On February 2020, it appears the last two scenarios best match the unfolding outbreak, but we present results from the full range of scenarios because these provide information about the effects of possible future less serious epidemics.

 

1. Effects on pork prices, demand, production and trade.

Source: Mason-D’Croz, D., Bogard, J.R., Herrero, M. et al. Modelling the global economic consequences of a major African swine fever outbreak in China. Nat Food 1, 221–228 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s43016-020-0057-2

 

2. Knock-on effects on other commodities

Source: Mason-D’Croz, D., Bogard, J.R., Herrero, M. et al. Modelling the global economic consequences of a major African swine fever outbreak in China. Nat Food 1, 221–228 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s43016-020-0057-2

 

3. Effects on food and nutrition security

We estimate the sum of the spillover effects on different components of people’s diets and their effects on calorie consumption.

Source: Mason-D’Croz, D., Bogard, J.R., Herrero, M. et al. Modelling the global economic consequences of a major African swine fever outbreak in China. Nat Food 1, 221–228 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s43016-020-0057-2
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