The pork shortage is adding pressure to the Vietnamese government’s efforts to keep inflation below 4% this year.
About 70% of all meat consumed last year in Vietnam was pork, according to the agriculture ministry.
Vietnam risks a shortage of 500,000 tons of pork, which is valued at US$1.3 billion, between now and the Lunar New Year in January 2020 as African swine fever ravages the nation’s hog herd, according to Ipsos Business Consulting.
“The pork supply has become scarce,” Nguyen Tat Thang, general secretary of the Vietnam Animal Husbandry Association was quoted by Bloomberg as saying.
“Vietnam’s pork imports jumped 5- to 7-fold in the first half of the year and will rise more through the end of the year.”
It’s unclear, though, if pork producers from markets such as the US and Europe will be able to plug a significant portion of the shortage, said Phong Quach, the country head of Ipsos Business Consulting, to Bloomberg.
The Vietnamese prefer fresh meat, which is purchased at traditional wet markets, while most imported meat is frozen, he said.
Facilities for storing, defrosting, cutting and packaging massive amounts of pork to meet daily consumption and buying habits, and a system to distribute the meat to local markets beyond large supermarkets in major cities, would be needed, Phong added.
The pork shortage is adding pressure to the government’s efforts to keep inflation below 4% this year. About 70% of all meat consumed last year in Vietnam was pork, according to the agriculture ministry.
So far about 5 million pigs have been culled across Vietnam -- equal to 20% of the nation’s hog herd -- since the disease was first reported in two northern provinces at the start of February, Thang said.
Consumers are likely to start experiencing the pork shortage at the end of October, according to Nguyen Kim Doan, deputy head of the animal husbandry association in Dong Nai province.
dding to the problem is the willingness of some buyers to acquire Vietnamese pigs at premium prices for exports to China, which is also experiencing a severe pork shortage, he said. Bloomberg/Hanoitimes
While the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) considers importing pork to ease the domestic short supply, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) fears the imports will hurt the domestic livestock industry.
The amount of pork imported to Vietnam in the first four months of the year was six times higher than that in the entire year of 2018. The import price is VND5,000-7,000 per kilogram lower than the domestic price.
Vietnam has increased pork imports in the last six months amid the African swine fever epidemic. However, the quality of imports is questionable as Vietnam’s agencies are still weak at quarantine work.