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 (email@example.com)
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.
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.
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.
We gracefully thank our partners for their support.