New Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra has instructed the country's ministry of commerce to quickly address the rising price of pork in Thailand.
The Bangkok Post reported that commerce minister Kittirat Na Ranong said the retail price of pork has increased in line with the market mechanism.
He said people's demand for pork went up while the supply dropped due to the outbreak of the Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS). This viral outbreak, combined with pig deaths from the hot summer weather, is predicted to cut pig production by 30% this year, from 12 million animals to 8.4 million.
Adding to the damage from the virus, which is deadly in pigs, have been local outbreaks in Thailand of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea (PED) and Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD).
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%.
Chinese autumn festival
Kittirat said, "The pork price should decline once the Chinese Autumn festival ends as people would no longer have to purchase pork for this occasion.
"There is no need to import pork to increase the pork supply in the country," Kittirat added.
The minister said stringent measures had been implemented to control the pork price. The Ministry of Commerce (MOC) announced early August a ceiling of 162 baht/kg (€3.77/kg) on the retail price, but sales have been sluggish.
Pig raisers, however, said the PRRS outbreak had cut output, resulting in a rise in retail pork prices to about 160 baht/kg (€3.72/kg) from an average of 90 to 100 baht (€2.09-€2.33) last year. Thai pork merchants therefore have been suffering as consumers switch to other meats.
Last week the Swine Raisers Association of Thailand warned that retail prices for pork could go to 200 baht/kg (€4.65) by September, but urged the government to cancel its price controls.
PRRS outbreaks have also affected pig production elsewhere in Asia, including Myanmar, Vietnam and China.
• Bangkok Post
• Thai Ministry of Commerce
• Swine Raisers Association of Thailand (in Thai)