Fresh pork shortage hits

Local | Charlotte Luo 15 Aug 2019

There will be much less fresh pork for sale in markets over the next few days amid a suspension of mainland pig imports.

Hong Kong suspended live pig imports from the mainland yesterday after two pigs from Guangdong on their way to Hong Kong were found dead on Tuesday - the third African swine fever incident in three months.

It will take several days for mainland authorities to sterilize an interchange station at Qingshui River in Shenzhen affected by African swine fever.

A total of 751 local pigs were culled yesterday, according to the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department.

As the city will rely entirely on local supply, it will be harder for customers to buy fresh pork starting today, according to Hui Wai-kin, secretary-general of the Pork Traders General Association of Hong Kong.

Retail price for pork rose to HK$100 per catty from around HK$40 before the city saw its first case of African swine fever.

A pig stall owner, Wong, said he was selling lean pork at a range of HK$80 to HK$100 per catty, adding that he had "never sold such expensive lean pork" in the past 30 years. He's worried that if he raised prices further, people would stop buying from him.

Another pig stall owner said her heart "goes on a rollercoaster" every day, as live pig prices went over HK$4,000 per 100 catties (60 kilograms).

According to the government, Tuesday's pig auction prices were between HK$3,750 and HK$4,480 per 100 catties.

In comparison, pigs imported from the mainland on August 1 went for an average price of HK$2,382 per 100 catties.

A resident, Chan, said if there was no fresh pork available, he would buy frozen instead.

Another resident rushed to the wet market to buy more pork, foreseeing supply to dwindle in the next few days.

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