Pork prices witnessing unwanted surge

The price increase of rice bran in July has correspondingly pushed pork prices up to no end. Consumers have become more concerned because this means a butterfly effect on prices of various food types that use pork as an ingredient.

The delegation of the Agriculture and Rural Development Ministry is checking breeding pigs in Binh Thang Research Center for Animal Husbandry (sited in Dong Nai Province). (Photo: SGGP)

On July 18, retail prices for pork rose by VND5,000-20,000 per kilo (US$0.21-0.85) depending on selling locations. For instance, in Nhat Tao Market (sited in District 10 of Ho Chi Minh City), pork cutlet costs VND130,000 a kilo ($5.55) while pork belly is at VND150,000 ($6.4) per kilo. Meanwhile, the price of pork belly in Tan Chanh Hiep Market of District 12 is VND135,000 a kilo ($5.76).

A representative of Hoc Mon Wholesale Produce Market reported that the amount of pork entering the market yesterday was about 319 tonnes. The wholesale prices of pork cutlet and belly are VND80,000 and VND115,000 a kilo ($3.4 and $4.9) respectively. Compared to last month, this is a remarkable price increase, resulting in a temporary weak purchase power in general.

All over the country, the price of live hog is also witnessing a price surge from VND54,000 to VND63,000 ($2.3 to $2.69) per kilo in Binh Dinh Province – the cheapest; and from VND59,000 to VND74,000 ($2.52 to $3.16) in Tuyen Quang Province – the most expensive.

Director of Tien Phong Safe Livestock Cooperative in HCMC Tram Quoc Thang explained that the first reason is the African swine fever happening in many farms, leading to a temporary supply shortage. Another cause is the profit loss of farmers recently due to high pig feed prices but low pork prices; and therefore, they decided to downsize pig herds.

Vice Chairman of Dong Nai Province Animal Husbandry Association Nguyen Kim Doan commented that this pork price increase is understandable, as it goes along with the current regional trend happening in Thailand, China, the Republic of Korea (RoK). He added one more reason for this price rise, saying that certain European countries are importing pork for their winter storage while RoK has eliminated its pork import tax. This means a tendency to export pork of food processing businesses rather than selling it domestically.

The most concerning fact right now is the large-scaled downsizing of pig herbs throughout Vietnam as farmers are switching to poultry farming, which offers them higher profits in a shorter time. Vietnam Animal Husbandry Association said that at present, only large foreign-invested enterprises with available healthy sows and boars can increase their herds to decrease pork prices.

The Agriculture and Rural Development Ministry stated that in the ending months of this year, to upsize pig herds, it will apply practical measures such as introducing the biosafety and disease-free breeding model on livestock; building a circular production chain. In addition, it will increase its monitoring on supply sources, domestic and international animal feed prices, alternative animal feed types to reduce the dependence on industrial animal feed.

To lessen the financial burden on consumers, many popular supermarkets like Co.opmart, BigC & Go!, MM Mega Market are offering discounts on their merchandise, including pork. For example, in BigC & Go!, pork ham costs VND89,000 a kilo ($3.8), while MM Mega Market sells pork cutlet at VND99,000 a kilo (4.22).

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