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China’s Guangdong province bans transport of live hogs as swine fever spreads

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BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s southern Guangdong province on Tuesday banned the transport of live hogs to other parts of the country after two outbreaks of deadly African swine fever were reported in a neighboring area.

Beijing has prohibited the transport of pigs from any provinces that have reported African swine fever cases, as well as from neighboring regions. Guangdong acted after authorities in Hunan province to the north found the disease on two farms.

Guangdong’s ban will last until all neighboring provinces lift African swine fever-related restrictions, the region’s department of agriculture and rural affairs said on its website.

China has reported more than 40 separate outbreaks of the disease in 11 provinces and municipalities since discovering its first case in August, leading to the culling of about 200,000 animals.

Guangdong’s move is unlikely to have much impact on supply as the province relies on imports from elsewhere to meet demand for pork.

But it underlines the extent to which the disease is up-ending the country’s supply chain, raising the prospect of surging prices in the run-up to Chinese New Year, the country’s most important festival, in early February.

Beijing said on Monday it had identified the disease on two farms in southwest Yunnan province, the first outbreaks to be recorded in the south.

That, and the new cases in Hunan, will have repercussions for supply across the south. Guangxi, a region lying between Yunnan and Hunan, is usually a key supplier to Guangdong but is now not allowed to ship pigs across its borders.

Also on Tuesday, Japan said it had found African swine fever in a packaged pork sausage being carried into the country by a foreigner coming from Beijing.

Reporting by Beijing Monitoring Desk; Editing by Susan Fenton and Helen Popper

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