China floods: economic damage to livestock industry tops US$348 million, 6.4 million chickens dead

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  • The floods in the central province of Henan have killed at least 99 people and affected over 1 millions hectares (2.5 million acres) of crop fields
  • It has led to the death of 248,000 pigs, 6.4 million chickens and 45,000 sheep and other large livestock, resulting in damage of 2.25 billion yuan (US$348 million)
  • The deadly floods in the central province of Henan resulted in direct economic losses of 2.25 billion yuan (US$348 million) for China’s poultry and livestock industries after 248,000 pigs and 6.4 million chickens died.

    The floods, which have been described as the

    worst in decades

    after killing at least 99 people, saw some 15,000 farms affected, while another 45,000 sheep and other large livestock also died, China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said on Friday.

    “From a national perspective, the animal husbandry production order is generally normal, and the impact of floods on the country’s livestock production is limited,” said Yang Zhenhai, director of the Bureau of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Services.

    “For example, 248,000 pigs died, which is a small percentage compared with the 439 million pigs in the country at the end of June.”

    The floods have led to a slight rise in the price of poultry, eggs, beef and mutton, according to the agriculture and rural affairs ministry, while the price of pork – the staple meat in China – has remained stable in recent weeks.

    As of Thursday, over 1 millions hectares (2.5 million acres) of

    crop fields have also been affected by the floods,

    which raised concerns over food inflation and security.

    Henan, the biggest pig farming province in the country, accounts for around 10 per cent of the national pork supply.

    Pork prices have declined sharply since the beginning of the year, as nationwide stocks have rebound from the African swine fever crisis, and as of last week, the wholesale price had dropped by 55 per cent from January’s high.

    China’s flood-stricken Henan shakes off logistics disruptions after delays
    29 Jul 2021

    The price is unlikely to be further affected as

    current redundant pig stocks

    will be spared any impact from the floods, analysts said.

    “The impact of heavy precipitation may not be significant [on the price of pork],” said a report from Industrial Securities.

    “Based on historical experience, we observe that in 2016 and 2017, when the floods were more severe, neither heavy rainfall nor floods pushed up pork prices.”

    Zhong Zhengsheng, chief economist at Ping An Securities, said fundamental demand and supply movements were the bigger factors affecting the price of pork.

    “The current downward pressure on pork prices has not yet been fully released,” Zhong said.

    Thousands of residents in central China's Xinxiang city band together to fight rising floodwaters Thousands of residents in central China's Xinxiang city band together to fight rising floodwaters

    03:28

    Thousands of residents in central China’s Xinxiang city band together to fight rising floodwaters

    China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs also said the floods had increased the risks of epidemics as rotting carcasses of dead livestock and poultry floating in the undrained water could produce and spread pathogens.

    It also raised concerns about a

    recurrence of African swine fever,

    which decimated China’s hog herd in 2018 and 2019.

    As of Thursday, Chinese authorities had treated 3.562 million dead pigs, cattle, sheep and poultry, but the treatment was still ongoing, officials said.

    The demand for disinfectants has also surged, and on Tuesday, China’s animal husbandry association urged companies to donate large volumes for use in Tangyin county, where the floods have killed more than 380,000 animals.

    As of Friday, 85 veterinary drug companies had donated vaccine monitoring kits, disinfectants, protective clothing, masks and other prevention materials worth 16.25 million yuan (US$2.5 million), the agriculture and rural affairs ministry said.

    This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: Flood-hit Henan’s poultry and livestock industries suffer losses of 2.25b yuan