MPs blame high pork prices on govt inaction on swine fever

MPs blame high pork prices on govt inaction on swine fever

A consumer looks at what is on offer at a pork stall at Simummuang market in Lam Luk Ka district, Pathum Thani, on Monday. Prices have soared to 210-230 baht a kilo.(Photo: Apichit Jinakul)
A consumer looks at what is on offer at a pork stall at Simummuang market in Lam Luk Ka district, Pathum Thani, on Monday. Prices have soared to 210-230 baht a kilo.(Photo: Apichit Jinakul)

The leader of the opposition Pheu Thai Party and a Democrat Party member of the House commerce committee on Tuesday held the government accountable for escalating pork prices and pointed to uncontrolled African swine fever as the cause.

Pheu Thai leader Cholnan Srikaew said the government had failed to acknowledge and control the spread of swine fever in pig herds. This had led directly to a shortage of pork and soaring prices.

His party would propose the House immediately consider the issue when it resumes in session.

He held the prime minister, the agriculture minister and the director-general of the Department of Livestock Development responsible for the problem. Pheu Thai would also ask the National Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate the matter, he said.

Dr Cholnan said Pheu Thai had raised the problem of African swine fever with the agriculture minister in the House in August 2019, but to no avail. He said failure to control the disease could devastate small-scale pig raisers.

Democrat MP for Ratchaburi Akradet Wongpitakrote, spokesman for the House committee on commerce, said that in November last year he accompanied pig raisers from the East to inform the director-general of the Department of Livestock Development of a disease in their herds they could not identify at the time.

In December the same group of farmers told him the country would face a pork shortage, which became a reality this month, Mr Akradet said.

He said swine fever had reduced pork supplies by 30-40% and small and medium-sized farmers stopped raising pigs because their farms were open and they could not prevent the spread of the disease, unlike large producers with enclosed farms.

The Department of Livestock Development should provide an explanation to the House committee, Mr Akradet said.

Pork prices are now at 210 baht to 230 baht per kilogramme, depending on the cut, up from about 150 baht/kg before prices escalated.


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