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Taiwan pig farmers to reduce production

Taiwan hog farmers are to reduce their December production by roughly 20,000 head in an effort to boost falling pork prices on the domestic market, an industry leader has said.

Agreement reached
Pig farmers reached an agreement with the Cabinet-level Council of Agriculture (COA), said ROC Swine Association Chairman Pan Lien-chou. Among them, state-run Taiwan Sugar Corp. alone will cut the number of the pigs it raises by 6,000, he added.

The local pig farming industry has been facing a difficult situation because of sliding pork prices, which have fallen to about NT$5,700 (US$170) per 100 kilograms from NT$7,000 per 100 kilograms early this year due to higher feed prices.

Sagging local economy
Wang Shun-li, head of the Pingtung hog farming association attributed the declining pork prices to a sagging local economy and the importation of foreign pork. He argued that pork imports tainted with illegal chemical substances -- such as ractopamine and melamine -- should be banned. 

This follows from the fact that in July 2007, two shipments of pork from the United States were found to contain ractopamine, a drug that is used as a feed additive to promote leanness in pigs. The addition of ractopamine, also known by the trade name Paylean, to pig feed has been banned in Taiwan since 2006.

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