The Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) said yesterday that 47,000
pigs in China were infected by blue-ear disease in July, down 51.5
percent from the previous month.
Ministry spokesperson Xue Liang told a press briefing that of
the total, 13,000 animals had died (down 35.9 percent) but it was
not certain they had all died of blue ear.
The epidemic, which has been partly responsible for pushing up
pork prices nationwide, "has been closely controlled," Xue
Over the past year, blue-ear disease had spread to 26 provinces,
autonomous regions and municipalities, especially in the Yangtze
River region, killing 68,000 pigs and prompting officials to
destroy a further 175,000.
Li Jinxiang, an official with the MOA's veterinary bureau, said
although the disease was widespread, its prevalence varied from
region to region. For example, just 826 of the country's 650,000
villages had identified traces of the virus, he said, and each of
them had set up an appropriate quarantine system.
As of Wednesday, authorities had administered 314 million ml of
vaccine to immunize more than 100 million pigs, a fifth of the
nation's total. The vaccine has proven safe, effective and
up-to-standard, Yu Kangzhen, chief of the ministry's veterinary
drug inspection institute, said.
The highly pathogenic disease, also known as porcine
reproductive and respiratory sndrome, was introduced to China in
Although it can be fatal for pigs, once the animals are
vaccinated they are immune for life, the MOA said.
In a related development, the Ministry of Commerce said
yesterday that the average wholesale price of pork between August
13 and 19 fell 1.4 percent week on week.
It was the second consecutive drop in pork prices, which have
almost doubled over the past seven months due to short supply and
mounting production costs.
From August 6 to 12, pork prices fell 1.5 percent, week on week,
after efforts taken by the government and producers to increase
supply began to take effect, the ministry said.
However, with prices of suckling pigs and pig feed expected to
stay high over the Mid-autumn Festival and National Day holidays,
the price of pork will remain inflated, the ministry said.
Due to harvesting and transportation problems caused by heavy
rains, between August 13 and 19 caraway prices rose 46 percent
week-on-week, while rape was up 21.6 percent and cucumbers 18.8
Last week, of the 40 major edible farm products monitored by the
ministry, the prices of 31 items rose while eight fell and one
In July, China's consumer price index rose by a 33-month-high of
5.6 percent on the back of food price hikes. The key inflation
indicator was well above the government-set target of 3
(China Daily / Xinhua News Agency August 24, 2007)