Ministry vows to tackle surging feed meal prices
The Commerce Ministry pledges to address feed meal prices, which are surging because of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
According to Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit, the ministry is scheduled to call a joint meeting today with four related parties comprising responsible government agencies, farmers, feed meal producers and livestock raisers to find solutions to tackle higher production costs for feed meal.
The proposed solutions will include the ministry's review of measures that require importers to purchase domestic maize at a ratio of 1:3, he said.
The government imposed a cap on wheat imports in 2016 with the aim of shoring up domestic maize and cassava prices.
Mr Jurin said the meeting will take into account all related factors, including the impact on domestic farmers, especially of maize and cassava, and the impact on livestock raisers who now face higher production costs.
He said higher domestic feed meal costs stem largely from a rise in prices of three important raw materials: maize, wheat and fish meal.
The price of domestic maize is considered very high at present, quoted at 11-11.50 baht per kilogramme, up from 6-8 baht per kg during normal periods, said Mr Jurin.
The government, through its farmers' income guarantee scheme, offers a guaranteed price of 8.50 baht per kg.
More importantly, the Russia-Ukraine war has driven up global wheat prices because Ukraine is the world's biggest wheat exporter.
Mr Jurin admitted the measures that require importers to purchase domestic maize at a ratio of 1:3 may be inappropriate at this time and may need to be relaxed temporarily to lower feed meal production cost and livestock prices.
Internal Trade Department director-general Wattanasak Sur-iam said feed meal producers proposed the government lift measures that cap wheat imports, waive the 2% import tariff on soybeans, and relax the import period for maize under the Asean Free Trade Area agreement, which requires maize imports between Feb 1 and Aug 31.
Thailand's maize demand totals 7.8-8 million tonnes a year, while domestic production makes for 4.9 million tonnes.