China, the biggest consumer of pork in the world, has banned the import of pigs and wild boars from India to prevent the spread of the African swine fever (ASF), Chinese customs and agricultural ministry have announced.

According to a state media report, the General Administration of Customs of China and the Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Affairs took the decision following cases of ASF being discovered among domestic pigs and wild boar in Assam earlier in May.

Details of the ban’s impact could not be immediately ascertained.

The ban has taken effect China strives to restore pig production after the deadly disease ravaged its massive herd last year, a Reuters report said.

“A sharp 29% plunge in first-quarter output underlines the extent of the impact from the disease and the huge task the sector faces in trying to rebuild after African swine fever killed millions of pigs since August 2018,” the agency reported in April.

The ASF outbreak and culling of hogs slashed China’s pork output to a 16-year low of 42.6 million tonnes in 2019, while some experts estimate the sow herd shrank by at least 60% last year after the disease spread throughout the country.

In December, tighter border controls put in place by China because of the ASF had impacted the export of buffalo meat from India.

A report in the nationalistic tabloid Global Times linked China’s decision to ban pig imports from India was linked to the recent Sino-India tension at the border.

It pointed out that the ban comes “…after tensions between the two countries flared up in Galwan Valley region due to India’s recent, illegal construction of defence facilities on the border to Chinese territory”.

The charge has been categorically denied by India, which says its Chinese troops who are trying to change the status quo along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

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