BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s agriculture minister urged authorities to prevent a recurrence in African swine fever outbreaks, according to a statement on the ministry’s website on Monday.

Relevant departments must work to achieve this year’s pig production recovery goal, said Han Changfu, minister of agriculture and rural affairs.

The African swine fever situation was stable in 2019, and control and prevention measures against the deadly disease were effective, Han added.

Han also urged the authorities to strengthen on-the-ground checks of the data on pig production and make sure the data is reliable.

Beijing has released more than 200,000 tonnes of frozen pork from state reserves since early December to make up for a hit to market supply after African swine fever knocked out 21% of pork production in the world’s top consumer last year.

(Reporting by Hallie Gu and Dominique Patton; Editing by Kim Coghill)