USMEF monitoring African Swine Fever impact in Germany

by | Sep 22, 2020 | 5 Ag Stories, News

Officials with the US Meat Export Federation are keeping a close eye on recent confirmations of African Swine Fever in Germany, the largest pork producer in the European Union.

African Swine Fever was confirmed in Germany on September 9th when a dead wild boar near the Germany-Poland border tested positive. Reports show additional ASF cases have since been confirmed in the country, all in wild boars in the eastern state of Brandenburg. USMEF economist Erin Borror says global pork production remains at the same level but ASF in Germany will reshuffle pork trade patterns.

?ASF remains the key driver for 2020 pork trade and has reasserted itself with the crossing from Poland into Germany,? Borror said. ?2020 production should be near 5.2 million metric tons, down just modestly from last year, at least that was the expectation prior to ASF. I don?t really see that changing, so we will have the same volume of pork in the world. It?s just shifting where it goes.?

Borror adds all markets outside the European Union are now effectively closed to German pork, including major Asian destinations.

?German pork accounted for about 9 percent of global pork exports in the first half of this year, excluding what happens within the EU,? Borror said. ?Looking at Chinese import data, they were importing nearly 50,000 tons of pork cuts from Germany each month. That had doubled from last year?s pace. Germany was 14 percent of China?s imports. It will be a scramble from everyone looking to substitute in.?

Borror says Germany is also a major pork supplier for South Korea, but a large percentage of these exports are single-ribbed bellies. This is not a space the U.S. is likely to fill, due to very strong domestic demand for bellies and the labor required to meet Korean buyers’ specifications.