China will no longer require small hog farmers to seek environmental approval before breeding pigs in an effort to rebuild its hog herd following widespread outbreaks of African Swine Fever, according to Reuters.

“For pig breeding projects with annual output of less than 5,000 pigs, the environmental impact registration form shall be filed online, without requiring environmental impact assessment approval,” China’s agriculture ministry said in a statement.

Removing the requirement for environmental approval will reduce the regulatory burden on small farmers, an incentive China hopes will encourage them to return to pig production.

Interested in more news on farm programs, trade and rural issues? Sign up for a four-week free trial to Agri-Pulse. You’ll receive our content - absolutely free - during the trial period.

However, African Swine Fever was particularly hard on small farmers, leaving them with large debts, and they are reluctant to begin production again due to the continued risk of outbreaks and lack of capital.

While China has attempted to rebuild its hog population, roughly half of which was lost to the virus, the agriculture ministry said the risk of the disease spreading remains “relatively great."

For more news go to: