Vietnam’s agriculture ministry and its trade counterpart should clarify the causes behind falling pork prices and identify effective solutions, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc underlined at a government meeting on Thursday.
Pig farmers in southern Vietnam have been plagued by excessive supply against a decrease in demand and prices attributed to drastic reduction of imports from China, the country’s main live pig buyer.
Similar situations have happened with Vietnamese produce such as watermelon, onion, and banana, “so what will come next?” PM Phuc questioned at the meeting.
The premier asked relevant ministries and agencies to review their regulation management procedures and seek solutions that protect local farmers.
“Finding solutions to ‘rescue’ pig farmers was high on the agenda of the government meeting,” Minister and Chairman of the Government Office Mai Tien Dung confirmed at a press conference later the same day.
Pork prices have slid to a mere VND15,000 to VND18,000 per kg in the last few days, but local consumers are still purchasing the meat at high prices, between VND80,000 and VND100,000 per kg, at supermarkets. (US$1 = VND22,700)
“PM Phuc has directed relevant agencies to determine the causes and adopt measures that prevent similar occurrences,” the Government Office chairman told reporters.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture Ha Cong Tuan then reassured that different ministries, agencies, businesses, and supermarkets have taken actions in support of the ‘rescue pig farmers’ campaign, resulting in an increase in the price of live pork prices by more than VND5,000 per kg.
Supermarkets have also cut pork prices by 10-20 percent compared to ten days ago, Tuan added.
As for long-term solutions, Tuan said his ministry will focus on ensuring a balance in supply and demand, improving food hygiene and safety, arranging supply chains, and exploring export markets beyond China.
The banking sector will also offer a helping hand to local pig farmers, as the State Bank of Vietnam has requested commercial banks to offer interest waivers and reductions to stimulate manufacturing, according to Deputy Governor Dao Minh Tu.
The central bank recently agreed to reschedule debt payments worth VND 364.7 billion ($15.85 million), following field trips to localities with heavy farming activity, Tu added.
Aside from the efforts of the agriculture ministry and the central bank, the government has also demanded that relevant agencies closely oversee the temporary import and re-export of farm produce in line with Vietnam’s regulations and the accepted terms of various trade agreements Vietnam partakes in, especially those of the World Trade Organization.
“Relevant agencies should also review shortcomings in state management, especially in planning, pricing information systems, and the long-term market outlook,” Dung, the Government Office chairman, concluded, underlining the need to reduce production prices for local pig farms.