6-month price freeze for chicken
The Internal Trade Department (ITD) and traders have agreed to freeze chicken prices for six months while steps are being taken to resolve soaring pork prices, department director-general Wattanasak Sur-iam says.
Mr Wattanasak said the price of live chickens at farms is capped at 33.50 baht per kilogramme; fresh whole slaughtered chicken (with or without offal) at 60-65 baht/kg; thighs and drumsticks at 60-65 baht/kg and breasts at 65-70 baht/kg. The price controls are effective until the end of June.
Chicken producers will also be asked to increase productivity within 45 days, he said.
More people have turned from pork to chicken and eggs as cheaper sources of protein.
Talks have also been scheduled on egg prices with the ITD saying in advance that any egg price increases were inappropriate at this time. Talks will be held with leading figures in the industry, Mr Wattanasak said.
The ITD was working with the Layer Chickens Association, small-scale layer chicken groups in the Central Plains provinces, egg exporters and the Department of Livestock Development to find ways to maintain domestic egg supplies at reasonable prices for consumers. Each party will figure out how they can help in sustaining egg supplies before meeting next week to discuss a solution together, according to the ITD chief.
Mr Wattanasak insisted now was not the time to lift the prices of eggs by at least 20 satang each, as demanded by some egg producers.
He added the government stands ready to assist producers in effectively managing egg supplies and prices. As for the price of chicken feed, the department was implementing a project where the egg providers can buy feed directly and more cheaply from feed producers.
Also, Mr Wattanasak said the high prices of pork were partly caused by small-scale pig raisers closing down their farms, as the price of animal feed had risen by 7%. This resulted in the supply of pork to the market falling by about 30%.