Opinion Piece

Local consumers must prepare for higher prices of pork products during festive season

The World Organisation of Animal Health reported that the African Swine Fever (ASF) currently affects more than 50 countries in Europe, Asia and Africa including 12 EU Member States in 2020. The ASF virus has had an enormous impact on the pig sector of the affected countries as a result of international trade restrictions being imposed. 

Germany detected 80 ASF cases in wild boar populations in October 2020, which prompted China, Japan, South Korea and other countries to ban pork imports in the same month. An additional 43 cases of the ASF were further detected in November 2020, which resulted in a total of 123 confirmed cases. Germany continues to feel the impact of trade bans imposed by at least 10 non-EU countries. With the addition of Covid-19 plant restrictions, this is causing another backlog on the production system of pigs in German farms. This will have implications for South Africa as Germany is a principal supplier of pork products to South Africa, supplying a total share of 49.8%. 

South Africa’s imports of pork products from Germany are dominated by ribs, which account for about 61% of the total imports. The current ASF outbreak in Germany will affect the volume of pork products coming to South Africa and pork prices (ribs in particular) could rise due to lower supply. This particularly raises concerns as the outbreak of the ASF in Germany prevents pork imports to South Africa. The South Africa’s Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) issued trade restrictions on raw pork imports from Germany on 14 September 2020. Although South African importers could turn to alternative markets such as Brazil, Spain, France and the United Kingdom (UK), which are likely to be charged higher prices knowing that supplies from Germany are restricted. 

Therefore, local consumers are likely to face even higher prices of pork products as the festive season approaches.

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