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Laos Suspends Pig, Pork Imports From China, Vietnam

Source: Vientiane Times

The Lao government has announced the temporary suspension of pig and pork product imports from China and Vietnam after African Swine Fever outbreaks in these countries.

The notification was issued by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry recently with the aim of preventing the disease in Laos.

The ministry has directed the Department of Livestock and Fisheries to coordinate with officials at border crossings to notify authorities, entrepreneurs and consumers regarding this notification.

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Provinces bordering China and Vietnam should temporarily stop importing all kinds of pork products from the two neighbours for the purposes of domestic consumption.

Provincial livestock and fisheries offices should coordinate with the sectors concerned to plan for sufficient domestic pork production, aimed at reducing imports.

If inspectors at border crossings find pork products imported from China or Vietnam, the products will be confiscated

The World Organisation for Animal Health said African Swine Fever is a highly contagious haemorrhagic disease of pigs. The causative organism is a virus in the Asfarviridae family and is particularly virulent. The disease is characterised by high fever, loss of appetite, haemorrhaging of the skin and internal organs, and death in 2-10 days on average.

Mortality rates may be as high as 100 percent.

There is currently no outbreak of the virus in Laos, for which the country has no vaccine available.
Livestock and fisheries authorities have ensured that the suspension of imports has not had any impact on supply to local markets.

The domestic production of pork and piglets is sufficient for local consumption and even a surplus in Vientiane, so meat can be supplied to the provinces if necessary.

Prices are in line with the benchmark set by the authorities with good quality pork selling for 35,000 kip a kilogram.

The ban may help to spur pig farming in Laos and reduce competition from foreign pig breeders.    
Due to ongoing stiff competition from foreign pig farmers, especially Chinese breeders, many Lao pig farmers have struggled and found it difficult to expand their operations.