The PM said rising pork prices in recent months had contributed to the country’s increased consumer price index (CPI) and made life more difficult for the people as pork takes up a large part of the Vietnamese diet.
While the Government’s approach still favours free-market principles for pork, PM Phúc said it may feel obligated to allow a large quantity of pork to be imported should domestic firms fail to deliver a price cut.
“We all want to see made-in-Vietnam pork enjoying a large share of the market but the Government must and will take the necessary measures to protect the rights of consumers,” said he.
The PM said the answer for the pork shortage, in the long run, lay with the recovery of domestic herds. The Government’s objective is to restore the country’s swineherd to 32 million by providing firms and farmers financial incentives and support packages such as reduced interest rates and lower land-use fees.
Governmental agencies were tasked to improve transparency in wholesales and transport activities.
“We must not have a situation in which farmers and consumers are losing money while the middleman benefits with impunity,” said the PM, adding that keeping the pork price under control is crucial to the country’s effort to curb inflation and hit its CPI target this year.
Meanwhile, PM Phuc urged the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) to ramp up production of other livestock and keep a close watch on pork exports.
According to a report by the Ministry of Finance, Vietnam's CPI in January and February increased by 5.91 per cent compared to the same period last year, which resulted in an overall price hike for the first quarter of 2020.
The pork price in northern regions was reported to range between VND82,000-85,000 last week, VND72,000-85,000 in Central Highland regions and VND75,000-81,000 in southern regions, marking a slight rise in price across the country compared to February and significantly higher price compared to before African swine flu. There have been reports of firms holding back supply to manipulate market price.
To better regulate pork prices, several Government agencies have suggested that pork should be included in a list of price-controlled commodities, according to Nguyen Van Trong, deputy head of MARD’s department of livestock. He cited the slow response and tepid participation from firms to answer the Government’s call to bring down the pork price.
According to a MARD report, 99 percent of communes across the country have been free of African swine flu in the last 30 days. MARD urged local authorities to green light pig farms’ return to normal operation as soon as possible.
However, the number of sows in the country remained limited with most of them kept by large firms, which will prioritise their own operations, making it difficult for farmers to pick up the speed of the herds’ recovery.
Trọng said by the MARD’s estimation June was the earliest for the country’s pork supply to experience a strong bounce-back.