BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s pig herd shrank in October by the most in close to two years, said the agriculture ministry on Wednesday, amid a crackdown on farm pollution that has forced hundreds of thousands of farms to close in the past year.
The world’s largest pig herd contracted by 6.6 percent in October from a year ago, said the ministry, without giving detailed livestock figures.
That was more than last month’s drop of 6.1 percent, and a reduction pace not seen since January 2016.
The sow herd fell 5.3 percent last month, also more than last month’s decline, and the largest drop since March 2016.
Both sow and hog herds have registered a year-on-year drop each month since at least the start of 2016, but the pace of shrinkage has accelerated since July this year, as efforts to comply with new environmental regulations gather pace.
Hundreds of thousands of mainly smaller pig farms have closed in recent months, as local governments rush to enforce the tough new standards by December.
Under those standards, livestock production is banned near water sources or major population areas. Farms in other areas must meet high standards on treatment of animal waste.
China produces about 55 million tonnes of pork a year, about half the world’s supply.