Imported pigs from Thailand expected to reduce Vietnam’s pork price
The price of live hog in the Vietnamese market decreased recently after the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) allowed imports of pigs from Thailand.
A customer chooses imported pork at Big C supermarket Thang Long in Ha Noi. — Photo congthuong.com.vn
In the northern region, the price of live hog fell slightly by between VND1,000-VND3,000 per kilo to VND92,000-VND95,000. Meanwhile, the prices in the central and southern regions were down to VND88,000-VND93,000 per kilo.
Nguyen Van Trong, deputy director of the MARD’s Department of Livestock Breeding, said the price of live pigs will drop further in the near future.
Trong said there are many businesses registering to import live pigs, some of them have registered imports of between 100,000-200,000 pigs.
Insiders said that the price of live pigs imported from Thailand is about VND50,000 (US$2.1) per kilo, but it will increase because the transport of live pigs must go via Laos and Cambodia.
Nguyen Dinh Bich, an expert in research and analysis of Viet Nam's agricultural market, told local media that the import of live pigs will meet the increasing demand of Vietnamese consumers and pulling down the price of domestic pork.
“Frozen pork is mainly used for food processing and serving meals for workers, while fresh pork is always used in the family meal,” Bich said.
In addition, he said due to fears of African swine fever recurrence, many farm owners sold pigs sooner than the expected time, making the price drop.
“The sale of pigs increased the supply of pork in the country. However, it is only positive news at the present time. In the long run, the market will still lack pork,” Bich said.
He said although the price of live pigs dropped sharply in recent days, the price of pork at traditional markets and supermarkets still remained high at between VND170,000-VND230,000 per kilo.
At an online conference held between Viet Nam Department of Animal Health and Thailand Livestock Development Department last week, the two sides discussed and agreed procedures and conditions to import live pigs from Thailand. The pigs will be slaughtered in Viet Nam.
The two sides also agreed detailed provisions on veterinary hygiene requirements, quarantine procedures and quarantine certificates for pigs from Thailand.
The price of pork began fluctuating early last year as Viet Nam was facing the outbreak of African swine fever.
Under the Government’s direction on reducing the price of live pigs to VND60,000 per kilo for stability in the domestic market during the COVID-19 pandemic, 15 major livestock enterprises has committed to join the price stabilisation programme for several months. However, the price of pork is not yet controlled.
Pork imports rise nearly 300 pct in five months
Vietnam imported about 67,640 tonnes of pork from the start of the year to May 30, a year-on-year surge of 298 percent, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).
Nearly 130 domestic firms purchased pork and related products in the period, mainly from Canada, Germany, Poland, Brazil, the US, Spain and Russia.
The imports encountered various obstacles as the global supply was also on the decrease, worsened by the ravaging African swine fever in many countries, the MARD said.
There were about 678 million pigs worldwide in January, down nearly 12 percent compared to the figure in 2019.
Due to complexities brought by COVID-19, the MARD has assigned relevant agencies to hold talks with regional countries regarding the import of live pigs.
Animal health agencies of Vietnam and Thailand are discussing procedures to allow direct import of pigs from Thailand.
PM urges to stabilise pork prices
PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc has asked three ministries to work together to lower the pork prices after receiving reports from the Vietnam Consumers Protection Association.
The Vietnam Consumers Protection Association has submitted a recommendation about stabilising pork prices to the Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.
Even though pork prices have increased, farmers are having a hard time finding customers to buy pigs. Due to the African Swine Fever and Covid-19, pork supply fell and prices increased. There's no official data on the balance between supply and demand then and now the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development have announced that the fever has been curbed.
Statistics from the General Statistics Office show that the number of pigs ready in the third quarter of 2019 was 771,000 tonnes, 731,000 tonnes in the fourth quarter of 2019 and 881,000 tonnes in the first quarter of 2020. As of May 6, Vietnam has imported 46,400 tonnes of pork, an increase of 328% compared to the same period last year. Pork export decreased by 21.1% in the first two months.
Meanwhile, demand is decreasing as many restaurants and hotels closed in late March due to Covid-19. However, pork prices remained high and will also affect the CPI since it is included in the calculation.
The Vietnam Consumers Protection Association suggested that the authorities should launch an investigation into pork prices. According to the association, even though no firm has 30% of the market share, there's a possibility that one big firm, or more, are hoarding and price-fixing.
State agencies should always provide transparent information and up-to-date pork prices, prevent smuggling and strictly deal with violations.
After receiving the recommendation, the PM has directed the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Ministry of Industry and Trade and Ministry of Finance to research and investigate the problems and propose solutions to lower the pork price to VND70,000 (USD3) per kilo.
In recent days, the pork prices are starting to lower slightly to VND93,000. VNS/Dtinews/VNA
There is likely false play in the way livestock companies calculate the selling price of live pigs, which is helping them maintain stellar profits in spite of the government’s calls to stabilise prices.
Transparency is key to better protect the interests of businesses and customers in the pork market.