December 3, 2019


Vietnam sees positive economy, but pork shortage still a problem



Vietnam's trade turnover is expected to reach a record US$500 billion in 2019, with surplus hitting US$9.1 billion, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc revealed on December 2.


Macroeconomics was stable for the time being, he said, despite the consumer price index (CPI) in November increasing by 0.96% over last month mainly due to a sharp hike in pork price.


However, despite the positive economy, the shortage of pork and rising meat prices are a cause for concern as the festive season nears.


According to Deputy Agriculture Minister  Phùng Đức Tiến, Vietnam would be in short of about 200,000 tonnes of pork for Vietnamese lunar new year holiday which comes in less than two months' time.


"Deputy Prime Minister Vương Đình Huệ has ordered imports of pork from our partner countries, but it should be done in a way to balance the interests of the consumers and the local pig farmers," Tiến told reporters.


Vietnamese include pork as part of their daily diets. Statistics by the Ministry of Industry and Trade show that Vietnamese consume on average about 5.4 million tonnes of meat a year, mostly pork accounting for 70% at 3.8 million tonnes.


The shortage is attributed to the African swine fever outbreaks across the country, in which more than 5.7 million pigs were already culled since early February this year.


"The number of pigs being culled rapidly decreased since June 30, by 88% to the peak month (of the outbreak), which creates favourable condition (for farmers) to start repopulating the herds," Huệ said.


Tiến also reported that pork prices dropped by half to around VNĐ70,000 (US$3) a kilo from the peak price in November following a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Huệ to control the price surge.


Vietnam would not be short of other meats as the production of other livestock increased by up to 390,000 tonnes this year compared to 2018, he said.


Meanwhile, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Đỗ Thắng Hải warned that a pork price surge during or after Tết holiday would affect the lives of residents and the CPI if the government does not respond properly to the situation.


"In China for example, pork prices hiked by 100% and the CPI also rose by 1%," he said.


Hải reported that his ministry demanded the Vietnam Directorate of Market Surveillance to halt exporting pork to other markets like China as well as to prevent pork smuggling from Thailand into Vietnam via the Cambodian border.


"We haven't signed any deals on pork trade with Thailand and Cambodia," he added.

"Pork smuggling from those markets poses risks to food safety while it might also infect the domestic pigs with diseases."


- Vietnam News