Disease slashing global meat output, cereals boom, bananas under watch: FAO

FAO/Sue Price There is no effective vaccine to protect swine from the ASF disease.

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


A rapid spread of African Swine Fever (ASF) is wiping out pig herds in China, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said on Thursday, and the killer disease has led to a drop in world meat production for the first time in more than 20 years, with other global staples also facing new threats.

The Organization’s latest Food Outlook, published on Thursday, anticipates ASF will lead to a contraction of at least 20 per cent in the output of pork products in China, the world’s largest producer, accounting for half of all global production.

As a result, the combined output of cattle, sheep, poultry and pig meat is forecast to total 335 million tonnes in carcass weight equivalent – one per cent lower than the previous year, according to FAO.

ASF prompted soaring prices for pig meat earlier this year, as China’s first reported outbreak in 2018 took hold, affecting 34 mainland provinces as of this July, where tens of millions of households depend on the animal for income.

The current failure to curb the highly-contagious disease is expected to strain global markets, with no vaccine currently available. Though harmless to humans, in pigs it causes high fever, internal bleeding, and will almost always kill the animal within weeks.

Overall, the decline in China’s meat output is partially offset by higher production of poultry, which has rapidly increased, and is expected to grow by 17 per cent consistently in coming years, making up around 39 per cent of the world’s total meat production.

An increase of bovine and sheep products is projected as the year draws to a close, in Argentina, Brazil, the European Union (EU) and the United States. Global changes to the world’s meat output will mean trade growth of around 6.7 per cent this year, compared to a slowing trend for other food types.

240,000 jobs lost to fungus

Meanwhile, the world’s most traded fruit is also in danger of becoming more scarce, amidst rising prices, as a fungal strain spreads across banana plantations in Latin America and Asia.

The Food Outlook assesses the hypothetical market risks posed by the TR4, Tropical Race 4, disease, on bananas, a vital cash crop threatened by the pathogen, which infects roots and stems.

Conservative estimates suggest that TR4 will take its greatest toll in Asia, FAO warned, which could lead to a two per cent drop in global output of bananas, cut some 240,000 jobs within the industry, and trigger a near 10 per cent rise in prices over less than a decade.

The TR4 threat “evokes the ghost of damage” done by an earlier fungus to the Gros Michel banana variety in the 1950’s, FAO said, which triggered billions of dollars in losses and lead to the rise in popularity of the Cavendish, currently under attack by TR4.

Bananas can account for one quarter of daily caloric intake for people in rural areas of some countries, and in some cases account for 75 per cent of small farmers’ total income.

The tropical fruit faces “elevated vigilance” at production sites worldwide, with thorough research on TR4 ongoing, as there is currently no fully effective cure or treatment.

Worldwide, wheat and maize production are expected to rise, while rice is expected to fall short of last year’s high, according to FAO, and the popularity of all three cereals is forecast to keep pace with, and even exceed, population growth.

Dairy herd expansions in India and Pakistan will yield more milk production for 2019, approximately 1.4 per cent globally, but in other parts of the world – namely in the EU, Australia and Colombia – dry weather is impeding the process, and for Argentina, rising feed costs and dwindling consumer demand are dampening milk yields.

FAO’s Food Outlook is a report published biannually, focusing on developments affecting global food and feed markets. The Organization, in addition, supplies analyses on major international commodities, the future of crop prospects, price developments, and other data.

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

MasterCard at European Business Summit 2015: A focus on innovation will drive inclusive economic growth for Europe

Children are still dying in Yemen war, despite partial ceasefire, says UNICEF chief

London wants new skyscrapers to protect cyclists from wind tunnels

Security Union: Commission receives mandate to start negotiating international rules for obtaining electronic evidence

Release of prize-winning Reuters journalists in Myanmar welcomed by UN

The EU’s outermost regions: strengthened partnership bears fruit

EU prolongs economic sanctions on Russia by six months

European Citizens’ Initiative: Commission decides to register ‘Right to Cure’ initiative

10 lessons from the COVID-19 frontline for a more gender-equal world

The European Parliament rewrites the EU budget in a bright day for the Union

Why exchange programs are essential for the medical students of the 21st century

Doctors vs. Industry 4.0: who will win?

Western Balkans: MEPs take stock of 2018 progress

World Health Organization calls crisis meeting over deadly Ebola outbreak in DR Congo

Business uncertainty rises as US grants only temporary exception to EU for steel and aluminium tariffs

Cybersecurity needs a holistic approach. Here are three ways to build protection

Commission offers discount on fines to banks for competition infringements

Oleg Sentsov awarded the 2018 Sakharov Prize

These 5 charts show our shifting behaviour around coronavirus

Conflict, climate change among factors that increase ‘desperation that enables human trafficking to flourish’, says UN chief

Nine children killed or maimed in Afghanistan every day: UN Children’s Fund

Although Greece is struggling to pay salaries and pensions Varoufakis is “optimistic”; the Sting reports live from EBS 2015

Draghi repels Trump’s threats, rejects Schauble’s dictums

This surgeon runs a makeshift hospital for over 200,000 people

UN chief extends condolences to families of China landslide casualties

Education in Emergencies: EU announces record humanitarian funding for 2019 and launches #RaiseYourPencil Campaign

A European Discovers China: 3 First Impressions

Why philanthropy for – and by – Africans is the future

Voices of Afghan women ‘must be heard at the table in the peace process and beyond’ UN deputy chief tells Security Council

Drinking water: new plans to improve tap water quality and cut plastic litter

JADE Team at the European Business Summit 2017

Respect people’s peaceful assembly and fair trail rights, UN human rights wing urges Nicaragua

The consequences of Brexit seen by a European young entrepreneur

The EU Spring Summit set to challenge austerity

How India is solving its cooling challenge

Why the 21st century’s biggest health challenge is our shared responsibility

These entrepreneurs are turning discarded fishing nets into surfboards and swimwear

Building cybersecurity capacity through benchmarking: the Global Cybersecurity Index

Ministers for Youth miss the opportunity to improve social inclusion of young people

Harnessing the power of nature in the fight against climate change

Nearly three million more displaced year-on-year, warns refugee agency chief, but solutions are within reach

UN commission agrees roadmap on ensuring women’s social protection, mobility, safety, and access to economic opportunities

EU confronts environmental threats as global leaders attempt to revive the global sentiment at NYC climate week

Why remote working doesn’t have to mean alienated employees

UN chief seeking ‘renewed commitment’ to global rules and values, as world leaders head to New York

Strong multilateral institutions key to tackling world’s dramatic challenges, UN chief says In Moscow

We had the hottest June ever this year – this is what happened around the world

Human Rights and Democracy: striving for dignity and equality around the world

China, forever new adventures

Employment and Social Developments in Europe: 2018 review confirms positive trends but highlights challenges, in particular linked to automation and digitalisation

Main results of Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) – 18-19/10/2018

UN expert condemns new sentence for jailed Venezuelan judge as ‘another instance of reprisal’

This new programme could hold the key to solving global health challenges

Two-thirds of employees would trust a robot boss more than a real one

LGBTQ+ inclusion on the other side of the screen

How communities are dealing with economy, society and education in COVID-19 crisis     

A Sting Exclusive: EU Commission’s Vice President Šefčovič accentuates the importance of innovation to EU’s Energy Union

November infringements package: key decisions

Bigotry makes politicians ‘complicit in the violence that follows’ : UN independent experts

Acute food insecurity ‘far too high’ UN agency warns, as 113 million go hungry

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