Vendors urge pork imports to curb soaring price

Vendors urge pork imports to curb soaring price

A vendor arranges various pork cuts at Pak Nam market in Samut Prakan last Tuesday. (Photo: Somchai Poomlard)
A vendor arranges various pork cuts at Pak Nam market in Samut Prakan last Tuesday. (Photo: Somchai Poomlard)

Pork vendors are calling on the government to start importing pork immediately to rein in its soaring price, as the high cost is driving consumers away and cutting their incomes.

Nongnut, a pork vendor at Huai Khwang market who asked to be identified only by her first name, said that without a timely government intervention, the average price of pork in the market may soon hit 300 baht per kilogramme, which was unaffordable for many.

Soaring prices have caused sales to drop by over half, the vendor said, adding many regular customers are buying less.

The vendor urged the government to set aside its concern for the economic survival of pig farms for the time being and start importing pork, saying the high prices are hurting everyone.

She said the longer the situation remains unresolved, the worse the problem will be for both vendors and consumers.

Thongdi, a shopper at Huai Khwang market, who also declined to provide her surname, agreed, saying the rising prices have forced her to cut back on pork purchases.

The calls come as the government launched a survey to establish the nation's live pig and frozen pork stocks, the result of which will determine its next course of action.

Wattanasak Sur-iam, director-general of the Internal Trade Department, said the government will start sending out teams to survey pork stocks across the nation.

The idea is to determine the nation's pork supply every week until the situation is resolved.

The government also has moved to suspend the export of live pigs until April 5, while requiring pig farmers, wholesalers and operators of food freezing facilities to report their stocks weekly.

However, Niphat Nueanim, vice-president of the Swine Raisers Association of Thailand, said the move is only a stop-gap measure that won't bring down pork prices in the long run.

Separately, government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana on Sunday responded to rumours accusing the government of covering up an outbreak of African swine fever (ASF) in the country.

Thai livestock authorities are duty-bound to report any case of ASF to the World Organisation for Animal Health and would never hide an outbreak from the rest of the world, he said.

He said the Department of Livestock Development is closely monitoring any suspected cases of the disease, which has resulted in the culling of over 500 million pigs in China.

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