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Taiwan ships pork to Macau after 24-year hiatus

Food prices jumped 6.1 per cent in April due to higher pork and fruit prices, with pork price increases accelerating to 14.4 per cent from 5.1 per cent in March. Photo: Reuters. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

TAIPEI, Jul 11, 2020, CNA. Pork from Taiwan arrived in Macau for the first time in 24 years Friday after the country was recently declared a foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) free zone where vaccination is not practiced, the Council of Agriculture (COA) said, Focus Taiwan reported.

The 550-kilogram shipment, delivered on a StarLux Airlines flight, was a trial batch consisting mainly of refrigerated pork and some frozen meat, COA deputy chief Huang Chin-cheng said.

Casino operators in Macau have placed orders with COA-partnered Taiwanese hog farmers for the refrigerated meat of about 200 pigs per week for their restaurants, Huang said.

The shipment to Macau came just weeks after Taiwan, including the offshore counties of Penghu and Lienchiang, was declared in June as a FMD free zone where vaccination is not practiced by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

Taiwan’s pig farming industry had export sales of NT$60 billion (US$2 billion) in 1996, but was hit hard by an FMD outbreak in 1997, which triggered a ban on exports of fresh pork products, according to the COA.

A few months after the outbreak, Taiwan began FMD vaccination and the country gained the status of an FMD-free country where vaccination is practiced in 2003.

In 2009, Taiwan’s government tried to end the FMD vaccination program in an attempt to qualify for non-vaccination status, but that effort failed after seven FMD cases were reported in the country that year.

According to the COA, the recent declaration by the OIE is expected to facilitate the resumption of fresh pork exports from Taiwan, with Macau being the country’s first overseas customer after a 24-year hiatus.

(By Yang Shu-min, Hsu Hsiao-han and Ko Lin)

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