Trade Department limiting pork exports

Trade Department limiting pork exports

Pork products at Star Fresh Market in Rayong on July 14, 2020. (Photo by Arnun Chonmahatrakool)
Pork products at Star Fresh Market in Rayong on July 14, 2020. (Photo by Arnun Chonmahatrakool)

The Commerce Ministry's Internal Trade Department looks set to limit pork exports after retail pork prices surged to 170-180 baht per kilogramme, the highest in 10 years, driven by rising domestic demand as well as exports, notably to neighbouring countries and China.

According to a source from the Commerce Ministry who requested anonymity, the ministry has received a raft of complaints from the public about the continuous rise of pork prices in many areas.

The department earlier this year reached agreement with a group of swine raisers that pork exports would be restricted to prevent any impact on domestic prices if the ex-farm pork prices exceed 80 baht per kg.

Ex-farm pork prices are quoted at 86-87 baht per kg, a rise from 75 baht per kg earlier in the year, with retail pork prices rising to 170-180 baht per kg from 150-160 baht.

The source said ex-farm pork prices could increase to 90 baht per kg as demand both in domestic and export markets remains robust.

"The sharp rise in pork prices stems partly from higher domestic demand, rising economic activities and schools reopening," the source said.

"Supply also significantly decreased because of drought, which not only affects the growth rate of pigs but also endangers their lives."

In addition, widespread swine virus in China, Laos and Vietnam created strong demand for imported pork.

Thailand has shipped 6,000-8,000 pigs per day to the three countries.

Overall, Thailand can produce about 22 million live pigs a year.

Thailand exported 400,000-500,000 pigs last year.

Wattanasak Sur-iam, deputy director-general of the Internal Trade Department, said to ensure domestic adequate supply the department looks set to apply export limit measures as earlier agreed with the group of swine raisers.

Authorities will also seek cooperation with retailers to cap retail pork prices while the department pledges to work together with department stores and Blue Flag low-priced shops nationwide to offer affordable pork prices to consumers.

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