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China flys in 900 Danish breeding pigs to replenish herd

FILE PHOTO: Pigs are seen on the farm of pig farmer Zhang Haitao at a village in Changtu county, Liaoning province, China January 16, 2019. REUTERS/Ryan Woo

BEIJING (Reuters) – One of China’s top pig farming companies imported 906 breeding pigs from Denmark this week, said China’s customs on Wednesday, in the first import of live pigs in a year.

The animals bought by C.P. Pokphand Co, China’s fifth largest pig producer, arrived on a charter flight in August and spent over a month in quarantine in Xiangyang city in central Hubei province, according to a report on the website of China’s General Administration of Customs.

It is the first import of live breeding stock since African swine fever began spreading through China’s hog herd over a year ago, reducing demand for breeding animals as farmers tried to fight off the deadly, contagious disease and making quarantine of imported pigs more complicated.

But with the disease estimated to have reduced the world’s largest hog herd by more than half, many producers are now speeding up expansion, both building new farms and restocking previously infected ones.

CP chief executive Bai Shanlin told Reuters last month it plans to raise 10 million pigs a year by 2021, up from 4 million currently.

Only a handful of countries are permitted to export live swine to China, which has at times imported up to 10,000 pigs a year for genetic improvement of its herd.

The customs database shows imports of breeding pigs from Denmark in August were worth 20.9 million yuan ($2.94 million).

Reporting by Dominique Patton, editing by Louise Heavens

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