South Korea

South Korea hopes to keep pork exports intact


Officials in Seoul believe that the two ASF cases reported last week would not have an impact on pork exports.

Posted on Sep 24 ,05:52

South Korea hopes to keep pork exports intact

Counting on the fact that the two ASF outbreaks registered last week in South Korea's border region with North Korea, Seoul authorities are optimistic about the chance to secure access for Korean pork to its main export markets.
Last year, South Korea shipped $217,899 worth of pork to three destinations, Hong Kong, the United Arab Emirates and Thailand, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
Nevertheless, the hope to keep open all the markets may be more like wishful thinking. The Philippines has already placed a ban on South Korean pork imports, while Thailand has increased its biosecurity measures in front of the ASF wave in Asia.
Earlier this year, Thailand's government published an estimate on economic damage that would occur if the ASF virus reaches the country. The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives asses that if the disease infects 30% of the swine population, the economic damage will total 21.17 billion baht ($672 million). In the scenario of a 50% swine infection rate, the economic damage climbs to 35.28 billion baht ($1.1 billion) while in the 80% infection rate scenario the economic damage reaches 56.45 billion baht ($1.8 billion). In fact, the fear of an ASF outbreak is so high that some large pig producers in Thailand have started buying pigs from backyard farms located around their premises.
The Thai Swine Raisers Association, which is the national grouping of pig farmers in Thailand, is requesting pig farmers across the country to pool the money at a similar rate as the cooperative.

The association is expected to get USD 3.3 million from the donation. This amount of money will be used to buy pigs from backyard farms and poor biosecurity farms along the provinces bordering Laos and Cambodia. This is aiming to set up a buffer zone to prevent the ASF virus to get into the pig production areas that are located farther away from the border," explained Paul Anderson, General Manager SE Asia and International Sales Manager, Genesus Inc.
As for Hong Kong and UAE, the statement may be correct, both countries allowing pork imports from Ukraine, another country that is fighting ASF. "It is unlikely that ASF will affect exports of pork to Hong Kong and the UAE. The exports, however, may be affected if the disease spreads to other regions," said an official from the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, quoted by the Korea Herald newspaper.

The ministry said exports to Hong Kong will remain steady as the farms shipping pork to the city are located in South Gyeongsang Province, roughly 300 kilometers from the infected farms.

The UAE also allows imports of South Korean pork products as long as they have quarantine certificates issued by Seoul. Exports to Thailand have been halted a few months ago due to contract issues.

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