Due to the skyrocketing price of pork amid an ongoing shortage, rural Chinese are dusting off traditional dog meat recipes which had lost appeal until recently, SCMP reports.
"Why not choose dog meat if you want some meat?" recommended a waiter in Wan'an county located within Jiangxi province.
As we noted weeks ago, the price of China's favorite food has skyrocketed after a widespread outbreak of African swine fever resulted in the slaughter of millions of pigs - causing an estimated 1 trillion yuan ($140 billion) of direct losses. In September, the price of pork nationwide skyrocketed 69% over a year earlier according to China's National Bureau of Statistics - pushing Beijing's CPI up to 3%, the limit of their inflation tolerance for 2019.
China accounts for over half the pork eaten worldwide, and given a continued decline of the country's stockpile, prices are expected to rise further.
As pork prices continue to soar, discontent is growing among the public, especially among low-income groups. It is also dampening consumer sentiment and belies Beijing’s attempts to convince people of the country’s bright economic future.
In a supermarket in the county’s town centre, the price of lean pork was 72 yuan (US$10) per kilogram while pork rib cost 74 yuan (US$10.50) a kilogram – more than double what was being charged a year ago and at least as high as prices in major cities like Shanghai and Beijing.
“Pork only costed a dozen yuan per 500 grams last year, now it's more than 30 yuan,” said Liang Meilu, who runs five small kindergartens across the county. -SCMP
With many Chinese now priced out of pork, local supermarkets are selling rabbit meat even cheaper than normal at 43.6 yuan ($6.50 US) per kilogram. Those in Wan'an - officially labeled as a "county of poverty" by Beijing until 2018, are having a hard time even locating pork. The average salary in the region is around $353 (US) per month - around 25 - 33% less than those in large Chinese cities.
As a result, "most pork vendors have gone out of business because few rural residents, whose incomes are even lower than the county average, can afford it, according to Liu Gang, a villager in Jian county in Jiangxi," SCMP reports.
"It's not only expensive, but it’s also hard to purchase pork meat in rural villages," said Liu, adding "Many pigs died in nearby pig farms due to African swine fever earlier this year."
The country’s live hog population, which accounted for about half of the global total in 2018, had fallen 41.1 per cent at the end of September from a year earlier, according to a survey of 400 counties by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs. It is unclear how much further it will fall before it bottoms out.
The Chinese government has instituted emergency measures to boost pig supply, trying desperately to help farmers expand production while scrambling to import pork to sure up supply. China’s imports of pork rose 43.6 per cent to 1.32 million tonnes in the first nine months of this year, according to China’s General Administration of Customs. -SCMP
Until China's pork problem is behind them, looks like dog is back on the menu.