Vietnam considers more pork imports as prices surge
The government has asked the agriculture ministry to look into increasing pork imports as supply plunges and prices reach 3-year high.
The order, signed by Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue, seeks to stabilize pork prices, which have been surging since earlier this month and are now at a 3-year high of VND60,000-70,000 ($2.6-3) per kilogram.
Experts have also expressed concerns that the recent price surge follows increasing exports to China. In January-August the country exported $449 million worth of meat, up 3.6 percent year-on-year from 2018, mostly because of the rise in pork exports to China.
Domestic supply has been falling since the African swine fever broke out in February and spread to all localities. Almost 5 million pigs have been culled because of the virus, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development estimated.
In January-September, pig stock in the country dropped 19 percent year-on-year, while pork supply fell 9 percent, according to the General Statistics Office.
Vietnam, the world’s fifth largest pork producer last year, is at risk of a 500,000 ton shortage of pork, or 20 percent of total demand, between July and next February, according to global market research firm Ipsos Business Consulting.
In the first seven months, Vietnam imported $22.1 million worth of pork, 4.3 times that of the same period last year, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. Major import markets were Brazil, the U.S. and Poland.
About 70 percent of all meat consumed last year in Vietnam was pork, according to the ministry.