China to tap pork reserves as swine fever hits industry
China is set to release pork supplies from its central reserves as it moves to tackle soaring prices and shortages caused by an outbreak of swine fever.
A state-owned firm will auction 10,000 tonnes of frozen pork from its strategic reserves on Thursday.
China, the world’s biggest producer and consumer of pork, has struggled to control the spread of the disease.
Beijing has slaughtered more than 1 million pigs in a bid to contain the incurable pig virus.
The highly contagious disease is not dangerous to humans, but has hit China’s crucial pig-farming industry and driven up costs for consumers.
Pork prices jumped 46.7% in August on a year earlier, official figures showed.
In a bid to stabilise prices, a state-owned company that manages the pork reserves will auction imported frozen pork from countries including Denmark, France, the US and UK.
Only 300 tonnes will be sold to each bidder at the auction.
China created its strategic pork reserve in 2007 but the size of the stockpile is unclear.
- Why millions of pigs are being culled in Asia
- The deadly disease wiping out pigs
How important is pork in China?
Pork is one of China’s main food staples and accounts for more than 60% of the country’s meat consumption. The industry produced close to 54 million tonnes of pork last year.
Higher pork prices have put a strain on household incomes, putting a fresh drag on an already slowing Chinese economy.
The meat is used widely in Chinese festivals, and the pork auction comes as the country prepares to celebrate a week-long national holiday for the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China.