Swine output tipped to fall 12% this year
Market uncertainty puts off farmers
The production of live pigs is estimated to drop by almost 12% this year with the dent mostly affecting small farms, according to the Department of Livestock Development (DLD).
The department has conducted the first of two rounds of a nationwide survey of live pigs, which revealed 10.8 million are currently being reared, said DLD Director-General Sorawit Thaneeto.
The agency has estimated that throughout this year, there will be 11.8% fewer pigs than in 2021.
Of the pigs currently being farmed, 49,000 are male breeder pigs, which represents a 41.1% drop from last year, and 979,000 are female breeders, down 11% from the same period.
Mr Sorawit attributed the drop to small-scale farmers putting off raising pigs because they were unsure about the market and wary of a possible oversupply of pork in light of unfavourable economic conditions brought on by the pandemic.
Some farms also destroyed their livestock to lessen overcrowding in pens as a precaution against the outbreak of diseases.
Mr Sorawit said there are 107,000 pig raisers in the country. While medium-and large-size farms account for 70% of all pigs, there are a greater number of smaller pig farms.
Mr Sorawit said pigs that have disappeared from the system came mostly from the latter, whereas the bigger farmers have barely reported any drop in productivity.
He said it could be deduced that the low pig output may have a greater impact on markets and retail sales in upcountry areas that source their pork from small-scale farms.
Supermarkets tend to procure their pork from bigger farms and supply remains constant, he noted.
In a related development, the driver of a container truck intercepted on the border in Mukdahan last Saturday allegedly admitted he was delivering 24 tonnes of pork from Laos without permission.
Sriwasuwan Klangprapan, 56, was arrested for trying to smuggle pork into the country, according to Chalongrat Chansongkaew, chief of the livestock quarantine office in Mukdahan.
The pork may have been ordered from Russia and transported to Laos via Vietnam, he said.