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MARD forecast a possible lack of pork this year end

Update: June, 18/2012 - 17:26

HA NOI – The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) said without a timely solution, there would be a shortage in meat supply for the domestic market this year.

Lower prices, less farming

With the continuous blue ear disease affecting pig herds nation-wide, as well as economic difficulties, many consumers are turning their backs to pork, causing a progressive price reduction in the market.

As a result, more farmers have stopped breeding pigs in their localities, said Nguyen Thanh Son, deputy director of the Husbandry Department.

According to the northern Bac Giang Province's agriculture and rural development department, unprocessed pork costs between VND32,000 – 33,000 (or US$1.5) per kg. Despite this cheap price, it is still hard to find buyers, said a local agriculture official, adding that thousands of farmers worried about their futures, while many were starting to leave their pig cages empty.

Deputy director Son said though avian influenza and foot and mouth disease were temporary controlled, the persistent blue ear disease since this February had been affecting consumers and directly harming the industry.

According to the Epidemiological Department, until last week, the disease was reported in the provinces of Dien Bien, Bac Ninh, Quang Ninh, Lai Chau, Hoa Binh, Lang Son, Bac Lieu and Dong Nai.

The department calculated there were over 33,000 pigs infected with the disease including 21,000 pigs destroyed in the first six months. Compared with the same term last year, it's an increase of 2.5 times.

Son said without close monitoring, blue ear disease would spread to 13 provinces throughout the Cuu Long (Mekong) River Delta.

MARD deputy minister Diep Kinh Tan said "if this problem is not handled well, in the next four months, we shall lack the meat that is now in excess."

A timely solution needed

As the disease shows no sign of stopping, and is even spreading to the south, stamping it out is the priority of the agriculture sector, said Hoang Van Nam, director of the Animal Health department.

Nam said the disease has spread as transportation from infected areas has not been strictly controlled. Thus, Nam's department would work with the inspectors to boost the inspection of not only transportation, but also of the slaughter houses.

MARD's deputy Tan said his ministry was preparing to hold an online conference with key breeding areas later this month for a clearer review of the problem and determining a good solution.

Son said his department, under the assignment of MARD, was planning a solution to help the industry. The scheme could include an aid of VND9 trillion ($428million) in support given to farmers as very low interest rate loans.

However, Son said the plan was only on paper as of now and nothing yet done to support the farmers.

Traditionally, pork is a kind of food that cannot be missed during the year end festivals when the price often rises to troubling heights for consumers. – VNS

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