|Pig farmers are facing huge losses as hog prices have dropped to VNĐ 50,000-52,000 (US$2.15-2.23) per kilogramme. Photo congthuong.vn|
HCM CITY — Pig farmers in southern of Việt Nam are potentially facing huge losses before Tết (Lunar New Year) as pork prices have plummeted by 15- 20 per cent in the last two months.
Every year demand for pork increases sharply before the Lunar New Year as processing companies buy the meat to process for consumption during the festival.
In the event, hog prices start to increase in the latter part of the 11th lunar month.
But this year it did not happen, and the prices of pig on the hoof and pork have remained low.
Pig prices were in fact falling since late November due to a slowdown in demand and abundant supply, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
Pig on the hoof hovered at VNĐ 52,000 – 56,000 in the second half of November, VNĐ2,000-3,000 per kilogramme lower than at the end of October.
The ministry said demand could increase, though not considerably, closer to Tết, which would push up prices.
Hog prices are now only at VNĐ50,000-52,000 (US$2.15-2.23), VNĐ10,000 down from earlier last year.
Meanwhile, animal feed and veterinary drug prices have increased by more than 20 per cent and 180 per cent.
Việt Nam imports 80 per cent of inputs needed for animal feed production, and so the strengthening dollar has also pushed up costs.
Nguyễn Xuân Dương, deputy president of the Animal Husbandry Association of Việt Nam, said at current hog prices farmers are not breaking even, and it is necessary to promote consumption and increase prices.
Trần Năm, a pig farmer in Bến Tre Province, said he had been hoping to sell his 120 pigs at high prices before the Lunar New Year on January 22 since normally demand rises sharply.
But this year, if he sells now, he could lose VNĐ120 million ($5,117).
"Keeping them for longer means more expenses, and there is no certainty prices will increase."
Trần Huy Hoàng, a pig trader in An Giang Province, said he bought a few hundred pigs a few days ago but has not managed to sell them.
Lê Xuân Huy, deputy general director of the CP Livestock Joint Stock Company, said hog prices are down because of increased imports of both frozen pork and live pigs as well as lower demand.
This year many businesses are involved in the livestock industry, and so pork supply has increased by 11 per cent from the same period last year, he said, adding C.P.’s supply increased by 4-5 per cent.
Despite abundant domestic supply, Việt Nam still spent nearly $200 million to import 89,000 tonnes of frozen pork in the first 10 months of last year.
Other insiders said many farmers are fearful of diseases that are spreading now and killing pigs, and so are selling their animals before they mature, pushing up supply.
The average production cost is estimated at VNĐ55,000-60,000 per kilogramme of pig for a household farm and VNĐ50,000 for a commercial farm. — VNS