Virus Lockdown in China Impacts Pig Farm Owners’ Livelihoods

February 3, 2021 Updated: February 3, 2021

The latest CCP virus outbreak in China’s northeastern Heilongjiang Province is ever-worsening. Villagers in Wangkui county, one of the epicenters of the recent resurgence of COVID-19, were forcibly taken to quarantine centers, with their livestock and crops left behind. The remaining pig farm owners in this county have suffered difficulties due to the authorities’ imposed lockdown, such as not being able to restock animal feed and obstacles in selling their pigs.

Official reports show that Wangkui county’s economy heavily relies on the hog industry. As of 2020, the number of hog farms with more than 10,000 heads increased to 15 and the number of hog farms with more than 1,000 heads has grown to 57.

Peng Liang (alias), a pig farm owner in Wangkui county, told The Epoch Times that in the past, large pigs were sold out way before the Chinese New Year (falls on Feb. 12 this year), but now that the roads are closed and everyone is in isolation due to the lockdown, there are no buyers coming at all.

As a result, he hasn’t been able to buy more feed. “It’s very difficult to get the feed. I only have 7 to 8 days worth of feed left now. And nobody buys the pigs, so don’t we immediately have a shortage of funds? If nobody buys pigs, how can we have money? Us pig farmers have to invest 450,000 yuan ($82,000) every month,” he said.

“Many farmers are facing more difficult situations than me!” Peng added. Some pig farmers are in need of thousands of kilos of feed a day. But as all non-emergency vehicles are not allowed on the road, no one has transported feed to the village. Slaughter companies also cannot enter the village to pick up the hogs.

Peng said that now, they can only wait for the government’s orders to send slaughter companies down to the county. But he is worried that the slaughterhouses will take advantage of the local epidemic to give them very low prices. Under normal circumstances, if a pig gets sold and makes a profit of 500 yuan ($76), he would be content.

Peng added that due to the lockdown, county residents are not allowed to go out, not even to go buy groceries.

Peng said that he has been in the hog farming business for more than ten years, and it has been very difficult along the way. “The country’s good policies have never applied to us. We have to bear the high risks ourselves. You have to have experience and money. If there’s a disease outbreak among pigs, it’s beyond your control.”

After China’s African swine fever outbreaks, hog prices have fluctuated greatly, Peng said. But authorities have not offered any financial assistance.

Hong Ning and Ling Yun contributed to this report.