Australians may have to fork out up to 60 per cent more for their Christmas hams this year due to a shortage of pork, an industry spokesman says.
The cost of pork could rise thanks to a surge in exports after African swine fever decimated pig herds across Europe and Asia, Victorian Farmers Federation's Tim Kingma says.
"There definitely is a shortage of pork around the world. The last two years, the actual hams at Christmas have been fairly cheap," the pig farmer told 3AW radio on Monday.
"Because we've had the droughts the costs have been more.
"We've actually lost over 10 per cent more of the industry - peak family farmers have gone out, so there is scope to improve and for those people to come back into the industry."
African swine fever is an untreatable, infectious virus that affects domestic pigs, warthogs and bush pigs and kills within days.
It can be spread when pigs eat infected meat products and through direct contact.
Humans cannot be infected but authorities predict the disease will eradicate up to a quarter of the global pig stocks and obliterate Asian piggeries.
There's no vaccine or cure for the disease.
There is estimated to be up to 24 million wild boars across Australia, sparking fears the disease could spread quickly if it gets into the wild.
If a local outbreak occurred, it could cost the Australian pork industry $2 billion.
Australian Associated Press