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‘Free pork price,’ farmers plead

THAILAND: The Bank of Thailand (BoT) is worried about inflation. It could well be right; one of Thailand’s favourite foods will rise sharply in price if the National Association of Pig Farmers (NAPF) have their way.

Friday 22 July 2011, 07:23AM


These two porkers seem comfortable enough, but Thai pork farmers are warning that the colder, wetter weather is bringing on diseases that reduce the supply.

These two porkers seem comfortable enough, but Thai pork farmers are warning that the colder, wetter weather is bringing on diseases that reduce the supply.

The day after the BoT raised its interest rate by 25 basis points, the NAPF called for government price controls on pork to be scrapped, saying the policy goes against the realities of the market and is seriously affecting pig farmers.

The First Vice-President of the NAPF, Prapan Tangcharuwattanachai, said that supplies of pigs have been falling and other Asian countries are all experiencing rising prices, but Thailand, with its price controls, is not following the trend.

Prapan explained that Thailand currently has the region’s lowest price for pork – B70 a kilo – compared with B88 to B92 in Laos, B92 in Cambodia, B102 in China and B118 in Taiwan.

Higher prices, he argued, will give pig farmers bigger margins, allowing them to afford better farm management and increasingly efficient disease prevention, resulting in supply eventually increasing, presumably leading to lower prices.

Pigs in many Asian countries suffering diseases brought on by the change in weather, he said, and around 3,000 pigs a day are “disappearing” from the market.

Mr Prapan’s plea is likely to fall on deaf ears at the Commerce Ministry, however. With one eye on the incoming Pheu Thai Government’s agenda, the ministry seems inclined to strengthen, rather than relax food price controls.

New Paths Retreat

The same day as Mr Prapan went public on pork prices, the Commerce Ministry forwarded a report on the real costs of household items to the Pheu Thai Party to allow the party, once it is government, to devise a price control strategy.

Ministry Permanent Secretary Yanyong Puangrat also announced that the ministry has assigned the Internal Trade Department to closely monitor the retail price of bagged rice “to help consumers”.

He added that officials have been dispatched to inspect the retail prices of merit-making products and to ensure shops are clearly displaying price tags.

Internal Trade Department Director General Watcharee Wimuktayon noted that supermarkets and retail stores had promised not to increase the price of packed rice for the time being, but were now calling on the department to “address” the rising paddy price which has risen in recent months from between B7,900 and B9,200 a ton to between B8,500 and B11,500.

Ms Watcharee said she had asked officials to scrutinise the rice stock and will take legal action against rice speculators. – TAN Network

 

 

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