Undersupply pushes up live-pig prices

The undersupply of pigs, triggered by the rapid-fire spread of African swine fever (ASF) in the nation, has driven up live-pig prices in Dong Nai Province, HCMC and Hanoi over the past five days to VND35,000-VND41,000 per kilogram.

Dao Huu Thuan, a pig farmer living in the province’s Thong Nhat District, said that the prices of live pigs have risen to between VND35,000 and VND38,000 per kilogram from VND31,000 in recent days. For pigs that look good and weigh about 110 kilograms each, they get VND38,000 per kilogram.

Meanwhile, Nguyen Quang Thuy, who owns a household pig farm in the province, expressed regret for having sold his 91 pigs a week ago at the lower price of VND31,500 per kilogram. He still had 120 sows on his farm, which were not yet eligible for sale.

Thuy’s neighboring pig farmers also faced a shortage of live pigs as they had almost sold out their pig herds due to possible ASF infections, he said.

According to the base prices of live pigs quoted by CP Vietnam Livestock Company, local live-pig prices were revised upward by VND2,000-VND3,000 per kilogram, said Nguyen Ngoc An, general director of domestic meat processing firm Vissan.

An added that Vissan had bought live pigs at VND39,000 per kilogram. The firm still purchases and slaughters a steady 1,300 live pigs a day. He also attributed the price hike to the shortfall of live pigs.

In HCMC’s Hoc Mon wholesale market, the prices of live pigs were quoted at VND39,500 per kilogram for four days, up from the previous VND33,500, said market deputy director Le Van Tien. Some 5,000 pigs are still being taken to the market each night, he said.

To date, 54 provinces and cities have been hit by the disease, while HCMC is among the remaining localities that have adopted effective preventive measures and reported no ASF outbreaks.

As for Hanoi, the disease also drove live pig prices up to VND41,000 per kilogram, the highest level in 10 days at traditional wet markets.

Nguyen Thi Lien, a trader in Bach Mai District, forecast that the live pig prices might climb further in the coming days as many wholesale markets are suffering a shortage of live pigs.

Despite the soaring live pig prices, local traders at traditional markets expressed concern that consumers would stop buying pork products and switch to other meats.

Pork products that strictly follow food safety and hygiene standards are sold at traditional markets, but consumers are still afraid, said a trader at Hom-Duc Vien market.

In related news, Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue at a recent meeting approved in principle a Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development proposal to consider tapping the State budget to back pig farmers and pig farming companies whose pig herds were culled because of ASF.

The Deputy PM suggested the ministry propose the Government increase daily payments for staff members who took part in culling sick pigs, at the floor level of VND200,000 each on normal days and VND400,000 on holidays.

Further, he asked the Ministry of Finance to advance some VND1.2 trillion to local authorities to support affected pig farmers.


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