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Blue ear pig disease still lingers in 14 Chinese counties
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17:42, September 13, 2007

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China's chief veterinary officer said on Thursday that blue-ear pig disease, which is partly responsible for the current pork shortage, still lingers in 14 Chinese counties.

Jia Youling said at a press conference the Ministry of Agriculture was stepping up measures to bring the epidemic under control.

Jia said since the beginning of 2007, the disease had plagued 286 Chinese counties and infected 280,000 pigs, of which more than 70,000 died. The ministry had administered 510 million milliliters of vaccines to immunize more than 200 million pigs, he said.

Known as Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome, the disease has cut the supply of live pigs and triggered pork price hikes. Price hikes of pork and the ensuing hikes of other food products pushed the country's consumer price index to 6.5 percent in August, after it hit a ten-year high of 5.6 percent in July.

Vice Agriculture Minister Yin Chengjie said the pork price is unlikely to increase drastically in the long run as the nation had come up with a series of measures to encourage farmers to raise pigs.

The vice minister said farmers could currently make 300 to 400 yuan from raising a pig, which would help rekindle the enthusiasm of farmers who suffered losses from raising pigs back in 2006.

Pork prices in China fell for four consecutive weeks up to September 2 amid government efforts to increase supply, according to latest figures from the Ministry of Commerce. (One U.S. dollar equals to 7.5169 yuan)

Source: Xinhua

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