February 10, 2004



Seafood and Meat Prices Up 30% in Vietnam


Prices of vegetables, seafood and meat in Vietnam's capital Hanoi has shot up by about 30% due to bird flu outbreak in the country.


Pork tenderloin, for example, was selling for VND55,000 (US$3.5) per kilogram on Sunday - up VND20,000 compared to the days before Tet and the highest price in the last three years.


Produce sellers on Sunday blamed the sharp price increases, which average 30%, on the spread of the bird flu that has forced the cull of around 10mil chicken in Vietnam so far.


"The avian influenza is forcing not only individual consumers, but restaurants and hotels to find alternatives poultry."


As a result, certain foods will be continue to be scarce, forcing prices up over the next few weeks," said a beef seller in Hom market, one of the capital's biggest.


Making matters worse, market sellers say certain foods, particularly fish, shrimp and crab are also scarce because of the cold weather during the past week when temperatures averaged between 10 and 19¡ãC.


Sellers in Hanoi's main markets of Hang Da, Dong Xuan, Long Bien, O Cho Dua and Cau Giay said the shortages were pushing up the price of food.


On Sunday morning, lean pork paste cost VND70,000 ($4.5) per kilogram, VND15,000 more than it cost before Tet.


Beef is selling for VND90,000 to 100,000 per kilogram, up VND10,000 and prawns now cost VND260,000 to 340,000, a rise of VND20,000.


Hanoi residents are also worried about the rise in the price of vegetables during the past week, up between VND500 to 5,000 per kilo. Cabbage, for example, was selling for VND7,800, compared to VND2,500 before Tet.

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