China's stock of hogs rose 2 percent in November, the first monthly increase in about a year, signaling that favorable policies to boost hog production despite the epidemic of African swine fever have taken effect, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said on Monday.
Citizens buy pork at a local supermarket in Zhengzhou. (Photo: IC)
The inventory of breeding sows also went up by 4 percent in November, building on an uptick of 0.6 percent in October, the ministry added. Previously, the sow stock had been on a decline for about 19 months.
"With both significant indexes having bottomed out recently, the country's hog production capacity is faring better and becoming steady," Yang Zhenhai, chief of the ministry's Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Medicine Bureau, said in a statement posted on the ministry's website.
Hog farms with more than 5,000 pigs are demonstrating a stronger rebound as their inventories for both pigs and sows have increased for three months in a row, he said.
The output of pork feed also increased by nearly 7 percent in November over the previous month, maintaining the upward momentum that began in September, Yang added.
African swine fever, first detected in China last April, has decimated the country's massive hog herds and forced up the prices of pork, the most consumed meat in the country.
Yang said prices for pigs and pork reported marked drops in November thanks to improved confidence in the number of pig herds gradually returning to a normal level.
However, pork supplies will stay tight as peak seasons for Chinese to consume pork are drawing near.
Peak seasons fall around New Year's Day on Jan 1 and Spring Festival on Jan 25, according to Yang.
"It will take about six months for the expanding pig herds to be translated into increased pork products on the market," he said. "Given that the stock of hog herds from June to August had been shrinking, consumers will continue to feel the supply strain."
China has implemented a series of measures to secure meat supplies during the holiday season, including releasing frozen pork reserves and stepping up production of poultry meat, beef and lamb, he added.
In an action plan published on Friday, the ministry pledged to lift the country's hog production capacity to normal levels by 2021.