Vietnam has for the first time allowed the official importation of live pigs for slaughter in a bid to bring down domestic pork prices, according to a Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development document.
The document was signed by Agriculture and Rural Development Deputy Minister Phung Duc Tien.
Accordingly, imported hogs will be subject to a 30-day quarantine as per the effective regulations on cattle import.
The ministry did not specify how many live pigs for slaughter the country will buy or when shipments will begin.
Deputy Minister Tien told reporters on Thursday that the import of live pigs will be closely monitored and controlled to avoid negative impacts on the domestic market.
Tien also revealed that the ministry is targeting Thailand as one possible supplier.
It will be the first time Vietnam will have imported live pigs for slaughter from overseas.
The Southeast Asian country has already increased imports of breeding sows and frozen pork by 300 percent year-on-year in the first four months, Tien said in a report at the beginning of this month, in a bid to cool prices of the staple food for its population of more than 96 million.
The wholesale cost of live hogs reached an all-time high of VND106,000 (US$4.60) a kilogram on Thursday over scarcity caused by the African swine fever epidemic last year.
The nation has culled almost 4,000 pigs this year as virus outbreaks recurred in 155 communes in 20 provinces and cities, according to the agriculture ministry’s data.
“In the coming time, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development will organize a chicken festival and a tra fish [catfish] festival to encourage consumption of food other than pork,” Tien said on Thursday.