The virus has not yet reached Australian shores, but the ramifications are being felt in the domestic pork market, with other meat prices persistently increasing - fresh pork prices have increased by as much as 40 per cent in the past six months.
More than a quarter of the world's pigs have been wiped out and there is very little that authorities can do about it. African swine fever is spreading across the world and has Australia on high alert amid fears the arrival of the disease on our doorstep is inevitable.
The fever is already affecting prices in Australia despite it not being in the country yet. While pork prices have been directly affected, there has also been an indirect effect on other sources of protein. We're seeing it across every protein — beef, mutton and chicken as well.
According to Meat and livestock analyst Simon Quilty, Timor-Leste is the 10th nation in Asia to have the disease: the other nations are China, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, North Korea, South Korea, Mongolia, the Philippines and Cambodia, which along with Timor have a combined total of 522 million pigs out of an estimated global population of 770 million pigs. "The recent accelerated rate of contamination in China could see an estimated 70 per cent of all pigs gone by the end of 2019," he said. By the end of the year, China is estimated to have a 10 million tonne pork shortage.
In place of the staggering shortfall in pork supply, China is now rapidly importing beef, sheep, poultry and pork from Australia and abroad. Meat analyst and trader Simon Quilty said Chinese pork production will plummet 40 per cent by next year, equating to a loss of 15-20 million tonnes.