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Simulations predict a decline in pig production, increase in pork prices, and a slight decrease in per capita calorie availability in China.

African swine fever (ASF) has spread into East Asia where it is having a detrimental effect on pork production. However, the implications of ASF on the global pork market are poorly explored.

Two linked global economic models are used to explore the consequences of different scales of the epidemic on pork prices and on the prices of other food types and animal feeds. Five scenarios, where pig production in China remains constant (S0) or is reduced by 20, 40, 60 or 80% (S20 and so on), are explored.

Our simulations assume a reduction of pigs that leads to a decline in pork production in China of between 10 and 40 Mt in the four scenarios representing increasingly severe ASF epidemics. This represents cuts of 9–34% in global production (120 Mt in 2018) compared to a reference scenario without an ASF epidemic. This decline in production would lead to increases in world pork prices of 17–85%. Demand for, and prices of, food types such as beef and poultry rise, while prices for maize and soybean used in feed decline. In the worst scenario (S80), maize and soybean meal prices decline by 5% and 2%, respectively.

There is a slight decline in average per capita calorie availability in China, indicating the importance of assuring the dietary needs of low-income populations. Outside China, projections for calorie availability are mixed, reflecting the direct and indirect effects of the African swine fever epidemic on food and feed markets.

Mason-D’Croz D, Bogard JR, Herrero M, et al. Modelling the global economic consequences of a major African swine fever outbreak in China. Nat Food 1. 2020; 1: 221–228. Modelling the global economic consequences of a major ASF outbreak in China

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