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Nov. 22, 2019, 1:13 a.m. EST

China aims to restore most pork supply by end-2020

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By MarketWatch

BEIJING--China said it hopes to restore most of its pork supply in roughly a year, as worries about African swine fever continue to hurt the industry.

The number of breeding sows edged up 0.6% in October from a month earlier, rising for the first time since April last year, Yang Zhenhai, an official with China's Agriculture and Rural Affairs Ministry, said at a briefing Friday.

"It's a very strong signal," Mr. Yang said.

But he said it will take time before consumers see supply rising because a period of about 10 months is needed for baby pigs to be born and mature.

The government aims to restore supply to about 80% of the level before African swine fever hit China by the end of next year, Mr. Yang said.

Despite some early signs of recovery in production, there has been little progress in developing a vaccine.

Research institutions are still conducting bio-safety evaluations and none have applied for clinical trials, Mr. Yang said.

The deaths of some pigs in China's eastern Jiangsu province in late June were the result of other viruses, not African swine fever, the official said. The government is offering cash rewards for whistleblowers who disclose underreported outbreaks, he said.

--Liyan Qi

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