Vietnam has enough pork in stock: PM

By Anh Minh   December 24, 2019 | 12:44 am PT
Vietnam has enough pork in stock: PM
Pork sold at a market in District 4, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Nguyen.
Vietnam has enough supply of pork and shortages only appear to be happening because of speculators, the Prime Minister says.

The country still has 25 million pigs, and there has been increasing supply of other protein sources such as poultry and seafood, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said at a forum Monday.

He said prices have been rising because speculators have been spreading rumors of pork shortages to push up prices. Some producers have also been holding back their stock to wait higher prices.

"Whoever is holding back pork must be punished." The country could import thousands of tonnes more to lower prices, if needed, the PM said.

Pork imports this year in Ho Chi Minh City alone had surged 120 percent year-on-year to 13,000 tonnes as of mid-December, according to the city’s trade department.

However, industry insiders say that importing now is a challenge due to limited global supply, because China has lowered pork tariffs to increase its intake.

Doan Ngoc Tho, CEO of meat importer THO Group, said prices have doubled from $2 to $4.3 per kilogram for pork from the E.U.

This means that retail price in Vietnam would be VND150,000 ($6.5) kilogram of frozen pork, 50 percent more expensive than fresh domestic meat, he said.

Government agencies have previously estimated that Vietnam could be 200,000-300,000 tonnes of pork short this year after the African swine fever broke out in February, claiming the lives of 5.9 million pigs.

Pork prices have been reaching new heights in recent months. On Tuesday, it was VND95,000 ($4) per kilogram, up 86 percent from January.

Industry insiders say that demand will increase further as Tet, the Lunar New Year holiday, which falls on the last week of January 2020, approaches.

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