By Boyd Champness

Wednesday, 7 April, 1999

AUSTRALIAN pork producers are hoping to boost their market share in Asia following an outbreak of disease that has led to the slaughter of more than one million pigs.

The pig-borne virus, Japanese encephalitis, is transmitted to humans from pigs via mosquitoes. By the end of last week it had killed 63 people in Malaysia.

Pork Council of Australia president Peter Brechin told The Weekly Times there would be gains for Australian producers.

“At the risk of saying we will benefit from anothers misfortune, thats exactly the position,” he said. “There certainly is an opportunity for Australian producers.”

Mr Brechin said it was too early to assess the benefits for Australian producers but that most Malaysian chilled pork went to Singapore – a 100,000 tonne a year market – and that the PCA was already looking into what proportion of this market it could pick up, in the medium term at least.

In 1997, Australian producers won access to Japan for export pig meat following the outbreak of foot and mouth disease in Taipei.