Pork gets dear as African swine fever spreads

By Thi Ha   June 22, 2019 | 02:23 am PT
Pork gets dear as African swine fever spreads
Pork import prices have risen by 30 percent year-on-year in Vietnam. Photo by Reuters/Jason Le.
Pork import prices have risen by up to 30 percent as African swine fever expands to almost all localities in Vietnam.

Lan, a pork importer in Ho Chi Minh City’s Go Vap District, said prices have surged from VND40,000-60,000 ($1.7-2.6) per kilogram in the first five months last year to VND60,000-80,000 ($2.5-3.5) this year.

Lan used to import pork only from Poland and China, but she is looking to other countries as well to meet rising demand.

Lien, an importer in HCMC’s District 2, said that prices of pork from the U.S., Canada and Spain have risen by 5-15 percent year-on-year.

Rib prices have risen from VND80,000 to VND90,000 per kilogram, while pork shoulder prices have gone up from VND90,000 to VND110,000 per kilogram.

Major pork importer Vissan Jsc estimates that prices will continue to rise as the swine flu continues to spread in Vietnam and other Asian countries.

Vissan CEO Nguyen Ngoc An said: "Import prices have risen from VND60,000 to VND80,000, or 33 percent. China, the world’s largest importer, is pushing prices up as its supply is unstable."

China has been stocking up pork with the African swine fever spreading in the mainland since August last year, reducing the national herd by up to 200 million animals, Reuters reported.

Pork imports have been surging in Vietnam as well. In the first four months of the year, import of pork and pork products rose 6.7 times from the same period last year to $23.58 million, according to Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.      

In HCMC, affected by the African swine fever this month, the municipal customs department said that pork imports from January 1 to June 19 quadrupled in volume year-on-year.

Importers in the city have spent almost $7 million on pork imports, against just $2 million last year, the customs department said.

As many as 59 of 63 provinces and localities in Vietnam have reported the incidence of African swine fever. The country has culled at least 2.45 million pigs since the disease was first found in the northern region early February.

Vietnam has the seventh largest number of pigs in the world, 30 million, and is the sixth largest pork producer. Pig farming provides a livelihood to 2.4 million households, according to official figures.

Pork makes up 70 percent of the average Vietnamese diet. The Ministry of Industry and Trade is looking at frozen pork supplies as a plan to meet a possible pork shortage.

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