Deep in a farm in southern China, a farmer is breeding pigs that weigh in at 500kg and are as big as polar bears. These pigs are part of a herd that’s being bred to become China’s first batch of giant swine, as reported by Bloomberg.
When the pigs are brought to slaughter, some of them could sell for more than 10,000 Yuan (RM5884), three times over the average monthly disposable income in Nanning, the capital of Guangxi province where farmer Pang Cong lives.
Unlike the Netflix movie Okja where a company breeds massive swines for profits, some farmers in China, like Pang, resort to growing larger pigs to keep up with pork shortages in the country. However, large pork corporations are following this trend of breeding heftier pigs in an attempt to increase the average weight by 14% to boost profits by 30%.
The Chinese government has warned that supply would be “extremely severe” by 2020 because of the shortages. This means China will face a pork shortage of 10 million tonnes this year, more than what’s available in the global trade.
Recently, half of China’s pig population was wiped out by a deadly virus. To date, 18 of China’s 31 provinces and regions have been affected by the outbreak, resulting in a mass culling to stop the disease from spreading.
Government officials have urged farmers to boost production as soon as possible to increase the domestic pork supply. But many farmers are wary after an earlier outbreak. Piglets and sows have also become more expensive, so sizing their hogs might be the best next step.
Since China produces and consumes half of the world’s pork supply, it’s likely that the demand for the meat will cause global price surges.
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