August 4, 2011


Thailand threatens farmers who raise pork prices illegally



After the discovery of farm gate pig prices higher than the government's recommended price, the commerce ministry threatens pig farmers with a maximum jail term of seven years, a maximum fine of THB140,000 (US$4706), or both.


The Commerce Ministry reported that the inspection at fresh markets in Bangkok on August 1 found that pork was sold at THB145-160 (US$4.87-5.38) per kilogramme while the recommended price announced by the ministry is at THB140-150 (US$4.71-5.04) per kilogramme.


Vendors said the Commerce Ministry has pegged the farm-gate price of live pigs at no more than THB79 (US$2.66) per kilogramme but they have purchased live pigs at THB82 (US$2.76) per kilogramme.


Hence, they had to adjust the price to rising price from farms.


Vendors complained that they have lost customers to modern trade stores where pork were sold at THB112 (US$3.77) per kilogramme.


The ministry found that the modern trade stores have arranged for promotion campaign to sell pork at a lower price to attract customers and has limited its sale.


As for the ministry's measures, ordering the private sector to temporarily slow down the export of live pigs in order to maintain adequate supply for domestic consumption will subsequently bring down the current high price. However, it is believed that the plan will not be able to prevent illegal pig export to neighbouring countries.


The price of live pigs in China is at THB100 (US$3.37) per kilogramme, which is higher than the recommended price of the government.


This attracted vendors to illegal export that resulted in shortage.


In the meantime, Internal Trade Department Director-General Watcharee Wimuktayon said her department has joined hands with the Consumer Protection Police Division to examine a big-time pig farmer in Chachoengsao Province.


They found that the pig farmer refused to distribute their pigs to vendors and sell them at a higher price than the government's recommended price.


The pig farmer was accused of hoarding and selling products at overpriced rates.


She warned that vendors who are selling pork at a higher price than the ministry's recommended price will be sentenced up to seven years in prison, fined up to THB140,000 (US$4706) or both.

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