The African Swine Fever in Poland does not let go
Poland: The Chief Veterinary Officer (21/09) informed about two new ASF outbreaks. Both occurred in the south-east Poland (region of Lublin), in small backyard farms (one farm with one pig and second farm with four pigs). Both backyard farms were located in the area of risk (the area defined in part III of the Annex to the EC Decision 2014/709 / EU), where the outbreaks had already occurred earlier this year.
It is noticeable that the ASF expands slowly in the country and includes more and more areas, it is already present in 5 regions of Poland (out of 16). The number of outbreaks in Poland is increasing, in total 213 outbreaks since 2014 (109 outbreaks in 2018). Likewise, the number of infected wild boars is increasing, last new cases found between 17-23 September. In total 2850 infected wild boars has been found in Poland since 2014, of which 1946 cases were confirmed from the beginning of this year. The population of wild boars in Poland is still very high and many experts highlight wild boars as a main reason of spreading the virus in the wild and thus being easily transfer to pig farms by humans. Therefore, pressure has been put on the Polish Hunting Association to limit the population of wild boars but since the ASF continues to spread over the country the efficiency of hunting is being questioned.
The newly appointed Minister for Agriculture in Poland cancelled the idea of building a fence along the eastern border of Poland and emphasizes more the need and attention for biosecurity measures. He launched again a call for farmers to compensate expenses needed to increase the biosecurity at pig farms. In the September call, 10 000 farmers applied. Farmers can receive up to 75 % of refund for equipment and products related with performing disinfection (like high-pressure washer, biosecurity mats, gates, protective clothing).
In connection to the spreading ASF in Poland, many countries introduced a ban on the import of pigs and frozen pork from Poland, or parts of Poland, for example, China, Moldavia, Ukraine, Vietnam, Belarus), recently also Malaysia joined. But, this did not stop Poland to increase the number of pigs in 2017 and 2018, which is connected to lower purchase prices. As a result, there is also greater supply of pork meat on domestic market.
The pork market is currently in the declining phase when it comes to prices and this situation will probably intensify in the coming months. This is partly related to the occurrence of ASF in Belgium which surprised many pig producers and processors in Poland. Belgium pork will be (or already is) excluded shortly from its export markets (like China, South Korea, Japan). Redirecting export of Belgium pork due to export bans may influence the Polish and EU pork market.
Belgium, after Germany, is the second biggest supplier of pork to Poland. Import of pork from Belgium in the first half of 2018 was at the level of 98 917 tons, its value amounted to PLN 678 116 thousands. As comparison, in the same period of 2017 Poland imported 84 975 t of pork worth PLN 679 653 thousands from Belgium. The amount of pork from Belgium on the Polish market is likely to increase. This will cause an additional pressure on Polish producers and processors to lower prices overall.