Australian pork industry buoyed by African Swine Fever agreement

A pre-emptive zoning arrangement between Australia and Singapore in case of an African swine fever outbreak has been formalised.
Camera IconA pre-emptive zoning arrangement between Australia and Singapore in case of an African swine fever outbreak has been formalised. Credit: Danella Bevis

Australia could continue to export pork to Singapore even if African swine fever broke out down under, thanks to a new agreement inked this week.

The pre-emptive zoning agreement between Australia and Singapore, announced today, would allow pork exports to continue even if ASF broke out in Australia — but only from parts of Australia not affected by the disease.

Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said the agreement would provide greater certainty for Australian pork producers and to Singaporean consumers.

“Singapore is Australia’s single largest export market for pig meat with exports of over $60 million in 2019-20 and I express my gratitude to the Singaporean government for agreeing to these arrangements,” he said.

“The Australian Government remains committed to keeping Australia’s $60 billion agricultural sector free of biosecurity threats, including ASF.

“Just last week two men had their visas cancelled after attempting to bring in nearly 5kg of pork and pork products, seriously breaching Australia’s biosecurity laws.

“If ASF were to reach Australia it could have a significant impact on pig health and production and contribute to wider economic impacts caused by a loss of access to overseas markets for our pork products.”

Australia’s $5 billion pork industry has been on high alert after an ASF outbreak started sweeping the globe last year — killing hundreds of millions of pigs.

The disease meant China, the world’s biggest producer and consumer of pork, has had to rely on pork imports for the first time in decades.

The arrangement was funded through the Australian Government’s $66.6 million ASF response package.

Mr Littleproud said the zoning arrangement covered a range of potential scenarios to minimise trade disruption in the event of an ASF outbreak in Australia.

This included making sure exports could continue from non-affected states or territories if the disease was detected in domestic pigs.

He said the ASF Response Package had also funded more biosecurity officers, detector dogs and high-tech three-dimensional x-ray machines on the front line of airports.

Australian Pork Limited chief executive officer Margo Andrae said the Australian pork industry and APL welcomed the pre-emptive agreement.

“We extend our thanks to the Australian and Singaporean governments for concluding this important arrangement, which will help maintain the flow of Australian pork exports to Singapore in the event of an outbreak,” Ms Andrae said.

“This is an important win for Singaporean consumers as well as for Aussie pig farmers, who now have greater certainty of access to export markets.

“Continued, conditional access to overseas markets could help limit the commercial impact of an ASF outbreak in Australia.

“APL is pleased to have worked with both governments on behalf of farmers in support of this positive outcome.”

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