High price causes Phuket pork slump
PHUKET: Pork merchants in Phuket – like their counterparts across the country – have been suffering from the high price of pork which has led to consumers switching to other meats, despite government efforts to control prices.
Thursday 11 August 2011, 03:55AM
The Ministry of Commerce (MOC) announcing last Saturday (August 6) a ceiling of B162 a kilo on the retail price, but sales have been sluggish.
The Phuket News checked prices at the new municipal market on Ranong Rd, Phuket Town, on Monday and found pork selling below the new ceiling, with fillet at B160, fatback at B130 and streaky pork at B150 a kilo.
But buyers are still finding this too expensive. Morakot Sangmanee, a pork merchant in the market, said even though he was paying more for the meat from the farm gate, he could not raise his price to customers. Even so, he admitted that the current prices were “quite high”.
“If the price of pork keeps on rising, consumers won’t buy it. They will buy other meat instead,” Mr Morakot said.
The shortage of pork was initially caused by an outbreak of blue ear pig disease in July. This viral outbreak, combined with pig deaths from the hot summer weather, is predicted to cut pig production by 30 per cent this year, from 12 million animals to 8.4 million.
Blue ear outbreaks have affected pig production elsewhere in Asia, including Myanmar, Vietnam and China.
Adding to the damage from the virus, which is deadly in pigs, have been local outbreaks in Thailand of porcine epidemic diarrhoea and foot-and-mouth disease, the pigsite.com reported.
On top of all this, the price of pig feed, especially broken rice, rice bran and soybean meal, has risen abruptly, resulting in the cost of feeding pigs going up by an average of 20 per cent.
The Thai-Asean News Network (TAN) reported on Tuesday that the Swine Raisers Association of Thailand had warned that retail prices for pork could go to B200 a kilo by September, but had urged the government to cancel its price controls.
“The association urged the government to solve the issue by supporting farmers with more breeding pigs, as shortages [of animals] are the main cause of expensive pig prices at farms,” TAN reported.