African Swine Fever in India is a new severe problem. Is is believed that the ASF virus crossed the border from China and caused and outbreak at the Indian region of Assam.
India is one of the new Asian countries to have been infected by African Swine fever, a big source of worries in a country suffering with food availability and a fast growing population.
As many as two thousand eight hundred pigs have died in Assam by February 2020 due to the virus, making the Assam state the epicenter of African Swine Fever in India.
By mid May 2020, the number of dead pigs had already increased to 14.000 heads. In the North East of India, the pork business industry is worth more than 9.000 rupies crore (about USD 1.3 bn).
Kaziranga Park has dug trenches to keep out wild boars, that can transmit the virus to domestic pigs.
Despite the ASF outbreak, in a risky move, the Assamm authorities have decided against pork culling, which proved to be the only way to contain the infections in other countries.
Atul Bora, Assam’s minister for animal husbandry declared. According to the minister, the ASF virus came from China into India and infected first the Arunachal region of India, and the travelled to Assam.
Atul Bora also declared that ten districts of Assam are already affected with ASF. He expressed that despite of not going for the euthanization of pigs, they have strengthened biosecurity measures, including deep burial of affected pig carcasses and the use of hydrochloride powder and salts to keep the virus at bay.
The Chinese region of Nyngchi, at the border between India and China is believed to the be the source of the India’s ASF outbreak.
African swine fever in India is new, February 2020 was the first time the virus has been found in India, raising an alarm. African swine fever or ASF is a fatal disease and affects domestic pigs herds with almost 100% fatality.
African Swine Fever could affect the start of the growing intensive pork breeding industry in China
Considering the size of its population, China only produces some 400.000 tons of pork meat, with a population around 10 million hogs. It is a very low pork production considering that it produces 4.2 million metric tons of carabeef, the water buffalo meat. Its neighbor China, produces 34 million tons of pork annually, with a production reduced by ASF to over 37.75 million. The two Asian giants have a clear different appetite for pork.
Pork meat in India represents less than 10% of total animal protein consumed by the Indian populations.
A large part of the pork production is located in India’s north eastern states, close to the Chinese border, that is why the recent ASF outbreak could materially affect the Indian pork industry.
It is estimated that some 80% of pork meat in India is produced by small farmers, in poor sanitary conditions. This fact could speed up the transmission process of the ASF virus, especially since the Assam authorities have not imposed the culling of the affected piggeries.