PM Prayut questions cause of short supply of pork

PM Prayut questions cause of short supply of pork

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha (File photo: Bangkok Post)
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha (File photo: Bangkok Post)

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has questioned whether people meddling behind the scenes could be the cause of the current shortage and high price of pork meat.

Pork imports could, if necessary, alleviate the shortage, he said on Monday.

However, the government had to first check if the country's pork supply was adequate before taking such action.

"If there are dead pigs, more can be produced. Please understand that the current outbreak [of swine fever] is in just a few areas, not nationwide, and the number of dead pigs is not even 20%. 

"So, why is there a shortage? Something must have happened, and some people could be meddling in the process," Gen Prayut said.

Pork shortages have been blamed for the price soaring from 150 baht per kilogramme to 210-240 baht/kg in just a few weeks, with a contributing factor being the reported spread of African swine fever (ASF). (continues below)

A butcher prepares cuts of pork at a market in Yaowarat, Bangkok. (Photo: Bangkok Post)

Gen Prayut said he had instructed the Commerce Ministry, the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry and other agencies to look into rising prices of consumer products.

"Price increases must be reasonable. When production costs, such as fuel, increase by one baht, it is not reasonable to raise the product price by five baht. Don't be selfish at this time,"  the prime minister said.

Responding to a reporter's question about raising the minimum wage to offset rising product prices, Gen Prayut quickly replied: "Where's the money? You can say anything, but you have to find the money. The government must have the money first."

Skyrocketing pork prices have recently been followed by increases in the cost of other services and goods such as rice, eggs, vegetables and fruit.

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