Livelihoods of millions in East and Southeast Asia at risk from Swine Fever epidemic

IAEA/Laura Gil Martinez African Swine Fever is a highly contagious disease that can cause a devastating impact on small-scale pig farmers and can be transmitted from pigs to humans. (file March 2017)

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.


The rapid spread of African Swine Fever (ASF) across East and Southeast Asia is threatening the food security and livelihoods of millions of households in the region which rely on pig farming, The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, FAO, reported on Tuesday.

Small scale farmers account for a significant proportion of pig meat production in the vast region, and the outbreak is of particular concern for these producers, who may lack the expertise and funds necessary to protect their herds from the disease.

Higher prices, lower incomes

FAO has received reports that ASF has led to income losses in the affected countries, where tens of millions of households are engaged in pig farming – in China, the world’s largest pig meat producer, the figure is some 130 million – both because of the animal losses, and attempts by governments to stem the spread of the disease, which include limitations on the transportation and sales of live pigs and pork products.

The diets of many vulnerable people living in east and south-east Asian countries are expected to be adversely impacted: pork is one of the world’s most widely consumed animals in many countries in the region, and the decline in production, as well as concerns about the future impact of ASF, has already led to price hikes.

Continued spread of disease likely

Since the first reported outbreak of ASF in the northern Chinese province of Liaoning in August 2018, the disease has swept through the country, and 32 of the country’s 34 mainland provinces have since been affected. Despite actions taken by the Chinese Government, including the culling of 1.13 million pigs, ASF continues to spread, and has been reported in Viet Nam, Cambodia, Mongolia, South Korea and Laos.

The current failure to curb the disease is being attributed to several factors. Firstly, many small-scale farmers have not put in place measures to adequately protect their herds from disease. Secondly, pigs on small farms are often fed with table scraps, or uncooked organic refuse, which may contain the virus. The cross-border trade of pigs, some of which may be contaminated, has also contributed to the prevalence of ASF.

For these reasons, experts believe that the disease will inevitably spread further in the coming months, with far-reaching implications. These include a large decline in the number of farmed pigs, impacting the global market.

ASF is a contagious viral disease that affects pigs and wild boars causing high fever, internal bleeding, and is almost always fatal within a few weeks, as there is no treatment or vaccine available. The disease is harmless for humans. It spreads easily between domestic and wild pigs through direct contact, the feeding of contaminated food and materials that come into contact with the animals, including shoes, clothes, vehicles and equipment.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Why flexible workspaces are the key to winning the talent war

“France will be there, it will always be there!”, French President Hollande says in a rather disorganised speech; the Sting reports live from World Economic Forum 2015 in Davos

Getting people with disabilities into work requires data

Business management: how can you introduce new ideas?

Trump’s Russophiles under investigation, Europe remains ‘en garde’

The new Kiev rulers ask $35 billion from the West

Coding in Namibia: UN supports young women’s computing career dreams

Healthcare’s a human right, not ‘a privilege for the rich’ UNAIDS argues at Davos

Why precision medicine is the future of healthcare

Medical students: catalysts to close the gender gap

New book honours UN women who made HERstory

Cameroon: Clear ‘window of opportunity’ to solve crises rooted in violence – Bachelet

Around 52 million in Near East, North Africa, suffering chronic undernourishment, new UN food agency report reveals

WEF Davos 2016 LIVE: The health of capitalism won’t be the only worry for those who head for Davos

Mergers: Commission approves Varta AG’s acquisition of Energizer’s divestment business, subject to conditions

Environmental labelling, information and management schemes are central to the circular economy

Negotiated two-State solution still ‘the only option’ for Palestine: Guterres

Air pollution: How to end the deaths of 7 million people per year

4 ways blockchain will transform the mining and metals industry

Pollution could be harming every part of your body. Here’s how

UN human rights ruling could boost climate change asylum claims

A Sting Exclusive: “The competitiveness of Europe depends on a digital single market”, EPP President Joseph Daul highlights live from European Business Summit 2015

Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into proposed acquisition of Transat by Air Canada

MEPs want ambitious funding for cross-border projects to connect people

WHO chief underscores need to address climate change following visit to Bahamas

Humanitarian aid: €7 million for disaster preparedness in Southern Africa and Indian Ocean region

2018 Golden Pen of Freedom Awarded to Maria Ressa of the Philippines

Who is first (and last) in the race to build a workforce fit for the future?

We won’t win the online security war without people power

4 ways the circular economy can help heavy industry reduce emissions

EU prepares a banking union amidst financial ruins

A ‘strong and united Europe’ has never been more needed, declares UN chief Guterres

Here are five ways we can make mental healthcare better

Guterres expresses ‘grave concern’ following explosion at large political rally for reform-minded Ethiopian Prime Minister

Coronavirus: Commission concludes exploratory talks with Valneva to secure a new potential vaccine

2013, a Political Odyssey: What future for Italy?

3+1 issues to haunt tomorrow’s EU Summit

‘Good enough’ global cooperation is key to our survival

5 amazing schools that will make you wish you were young again

FROM THE FIELD: Finding refuge in the ‘beautiful game’

There is a forgotten solution to climate change that we must invest in – nature

Coronavirus: a Disease that spreads as fastly as its fake news

How data is transforming the way we care for the ocean

This German supermarket’s shelves are filled with food other stores won’t sell

How trust and collaboration are key in India’s last mile response to the COVID-19 crisis

The European Sting writes down the history LIVE from G20 Leaders’ Summit in Turkey

At UN, Middle East countries discuss steps towards regional nuclear-free zone

Banking package: Parliament and Council reach an agreement

Coronavirus vs flu: how do they compare?

Autumn 2020 Economic Forecast: Rebound interrupted as resurgence of pandemic deepens uncertainty

Globally, youth are the largest poverty-stricken group, says new UN report

How a bionic arm is helping one little girl enjoy the things most take for granted

If you build it, they will come: Why infrastructure is crucial to tourism growth and competitiveness

7 steps to becoming a ‘CEO Academy’

Towards the Rise of the United States of the Atlantic?

How personalized care can tackle the late-life loneliness epidemic

Vaccines: contract between European Commission and AstraZeneca now published

There is no greater sorrow on earth than the loss of one’s native land

Are we letting politicians play with migrants’ health?

Mobile technology facilitating social distance in the middle of a pandemic

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s