Simon Grey, General Manager Russia CIS and Europe, Genesus Inc.The Russian pig Price remains strong at 107 Roubles (US$1.65) per kg live-weight including 10% VAT. Prices are following the normal annual trend downwards at this time of the year. With production costs around 65 Roubles per kg ( $1US /kg) for good producer’s Russian pig farmers remain very happy.
Last week Genesus attended the annual Golden Autumn show in Moscow with our Russian supplier, AgroEco. The show was very well attended. We were pleased to be told that AgroEco get the highest price for their slaughter pigs in Russia. This is in part due to the excellent meat-eating quality from Genesus slaughter pigs.
A question many people were interested in was what the effect of ASF in China on the global market will be. Will there be opportunities for Russia? History says that major disease outbreaks that significantly reduce number of pigs on the market have a positive effect upon pig price. For sure ASF reduces pig numbers.
Time will tell with this one. Today regions or countries with ASF can’t export meat. For regions that are closed that have more production than consumption (net exporters buy region or country) this has a dramatic negative effect on price – simple supply and demand. A net exporting country that has a total ban on sales would have a significant effect on its pig industry. A reason why net exporting counties are very concerned about the rapid spread of ASF.
Of course, there are opportunities for Russia. But it needs to be very focused on having ASF free regions and in keeping these regions free. All commercial producers we talk with are very well aware of the risks and impact of ASF. Many top 10 producers have lost farms to the virus. All have in place very good bio-security. The area that required focus is back yard production. This is legally supposed to be for own consumption only and because of this does not come under the full control of the state veterinary service. Clearly rules are being broken here….
With ASF now established in China, with such a large population of back yard pigs in China and a history of disease spread, it will prove difficult to contain. It took Spain 40 years to get rid of ASF. Without a doubt in Russia and now Europe humans and back yard production have been the major reason for the spread of ASF. I hear reports of meat samples purchased in markets testing positive for ASF. Clearly there is contaminated meat in circulation.
Humans can’t carry ASF, except physically, contaminated pork products, contaminated shoes, clothes, hair and skin. With so many Humans travelling around the globe there is of course a global risk of movement of ASF in contaminated pork products, especially in countries where pigs are more accessible
The problem I see with ASF is how long the virus can live in meat, meat products and excretions from infected pigs.
Source: adapted from Scientific Opinion on African swine fever, EFSA Journal, 2010; 8(3):1556. The times given reflect the known or estimated maximum duration and will depend strongly on environmental temperature and humidity.
The incubation period for ASF is 4 to 19 days. However, pigs only shed the virus a maximum of 2 days prior to seeing clinical symptoms.
It is therefore possible for meat from commercial farms to be contaminated (pigs killed whilst shedding virus but not showing clinical symptoms). A lot of pigs would have been slaughtered, their meat processed and distributed within the 48-hour window of opportunity for the spread of virus. Even with good traceability it would be extremely difficult for all potentially contaminated products to be recovered!! Where there is little or no traceability it is impossible.
It is not possible to educate the world to the dangers of carrying meat products from country to country. It is also difficult to check every single bag passing through a border. It is also not necessary as the majority of people have no contact with live pigs. There is a danger of making ASF too high profile in the mass media. It only needs people to think that eating pork could be dangerous to have a serious downward effect on intake, which would of course impact on price.
What is vital is that we educate people who do have direct contact with live pigs about the risks of spread of ASF. This applies especially to people that have to come to farms every day to work can have had contact with contaminated meat or other pig products. This can happen by accident and without their knowledge. There is contaminated meat out there!
This post was written by Genesus