By Mai Ngoc Chau and Jason Gale
A state of emergency may be necessary in Vietnam in response to a killer pig disease that’s spreading across the pork-loving country, slashing hog supplies and causing prices to surge.
The hemorrhagic viral illness has been found in more than 400 districts in 55 Vietnamese provinces and cities, leading to the culling of some 2.5 million hogs since it was discovered in February, Pham Van Dong, head of the Ministry of Agriculture’s animal health department, told Tien Phong newspaper. The African swine fever situation is likely to worsen, and may reach a point where a state of emergency must be declared, the newspaper quoted Dong as saying.
Vietnam is the world’s biggest pork-consuming nation by capita outside of the European Union. Prices for live hogs have rallied by at least a third to 40,000 dong ($1.72) per kilogram in northern areas this month. Prices could reach 45,000-50,000 dong/kg amid dwindling supplies, Nguyen Xuan Duong, acting head of the ministry’s livestock production department, was quoted as saying.
The department has sought government assistance to support the bulk storage of frozen pork, Duong said. The ministry of agriculture’s animal health department didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.