Ministry Moves to Hold Down Egg, Pork Prices

by 5m Editor
20 April 2011, at 9:45am

THAILAND - The Commerce Ministry has called for egg producers to slow exports for six months, while it has frozen pork prices for three months to curb rising consumer costs.

As a result, eggs will be retailed at Bt3.10-Bt3.20 each for mixed sizes in fresh markets. The target retail price of pork will be Bt135-Bt140 a kilogram.

Vatchari Vimootayon, director-general of the Internal Trade Department, said rising prices of eggs and pork were mainly due to increasing feed-meal prices, while natural disasters such as floods had caused disease in hens and reduced egg production.

However, the price of eggs should stabilise after producers have committed to a temporary export ban until October.

Only large companies that have future contracts will continue egg exports, The Nation reports. However, that will not affect domestic egg prices, Mr Vatchari said.

On average, Thailand exports about 20 million to 30 million eggs a month. Thais consume 25 million eggs a day, but daily production has dropped by 3 million eggs.

To ease the rise in the cost of living, the ministry will set the price of eggs in fresh markets at Bt3.10-Bt3.20 each, with an approximate amount of 1 million eggs a day.

Mr Vatchari said the ministry would consider adding fishmeal to its price-control list if it finds that the rising price of feed meal has affected egg prices.

Manoch Chootubtim, president of the Egg Farmers Association, said the price of feed meal had increased continuously from Bt11 a kilogram in the first quarter of the year to more than Bt12 a kilo now.

"Egg farmers have faced lower income and only 10-per-cent profit. Prices of all consumer goods have gradually increased, and egg prices are not [immune to] higher production costs," he said.

In addition, the ministry will freeze the price of swine at Bt59-Bt60 a kilogram at the farm gate for three months in a bid to control the retail price of pork at Bt135-Bt140 a kilo. The ministry has also asked producers to slow down the export of pork for the time being. Exports account for 1 per cent of the country's pork production.

Thailand is currently able to produce 38,000 swine a day, down from the normal rate of 40,000 a day.

Pork prices have increased gradually in every country because of the impact of climate change, which slows down pigs' life cycle and raises the cost of production.

Supply of pork in the world market has dropped by 10 per cent, mainly in major producers such as Thailand, Viet Nam, South Korea and Cambodia.