Jurin puts brakes on pig exports
Ministry tackles pork price surge
Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit has ordered the temporary suspension of swine exports to combat the skyrocketing prices of pork in the domestic market.
The ban, effective on Thursday, was decided upon at a high-level meeting at the ministry which was also attended by top officials from the Livestock Department.
Mr Jurin said pigs and piglets will be temporarily banned from export until April 5 so there will be enough pork for domestic consumption. Last year, 18 million pigs were supplied to the domestic market and one million were exported.
This year, domestic supply is expected to fall to 13 million swine. That leaves a shortfall of about five million for local consumption compared to last year's figure.
The meeting yesterday ordered farmers who raise more than 500 pigs, traders who export more than 500 pigs, and firms with a cold storage warehouse keeping more than five tonnes of pork to report their current stocks and prices to the Department of Internal Trade.
Labels of pork retail prices must be clearly displayed at all markets and vendors must not jack up prices.
The Commerce Ministry's move came after the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives raised concern about the pork price saga.
Deputy Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Prapat Pothasuthon said earlier he would discuss with the Ministry of Commerce whether to issue an order suspending shipments of live pigs.
"We hope it can be implemented right away to improve the situation. We have both a medium- and long-term plan to ensure food security in the country," he said.
"We are also going to introduce a 'livestock sandbox' to promote imports and exports under a special control zone in line with government policy."
The meeting concluded that the pork price surge has been caused by outbreaks of African Swine Fever (ASF) in neighbouring countries that forced Thailand to take aggressive action to control the outbreak.
Mr Prapat added the Department of Livestock will promote pig-feeding to small-scale farmers in designated areas with the support of the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives.
It will also ask larger pig farms to produce more piglets, he said.