Pork Price Control a Challenge for Incoming Minister

by 5m Editor
10 August 2011, at 9:05am

THAILAND - Kittirat Na Ranong, who is likely to be the new commerce minister, will have to tackle the problem of soaring prices of pork, fresh foods and other consumer goods urgently after the ministry's prolonged role in dealing with the rocketing price of pork and other essential goods.

Although the retail prices of pork are capped at Bt152-Bt162 a kilogram, the Commerce Ministry has received many complaints about overcharging because of supply shortage and higher production costs. Prices have been quoted at between Bt170 and Bt180 per kilo in some provinces.

The ministry yesterday sought the 77 provincial governors' cooperation in stringently controlling retail pork prices in their areas as prices skyrocket amid reduced supply, said Vatchari Vimooktayon, director-general of the Internal Trade Department.

The Nation reports that the department announced that it would punish retailers quoting prices above the ministry's ceiling starting yesterday.

Under the Product and Service Price Act, any violators selling goods at higher than the ceiling price will face five years in jail and/or a Bt100,000 fine.

Each trader has to display retail prices clearly, under the law.

The department said more than 90 per cent of pork retailers and pig farms were in compliance with the price-control measure.

To ensure fair prices, the agency yesterday met with 40 fresh-market entrepreneurs and modern traders to seek their cooperation in selling pork at no more than the ceiling price.

In addition, the ministry recently reported that the prices of fresh vegetables were climbing rapidly because of flooding and the upcoming Ghost Festival, which has driven up demand for fresh foods.

For instance, the price of morning glory has increased from Bt18-Bt20 a kilo before the flooding to Bt22-Bt25, that of Chinese lettuce has risen from Bt12-Bt15 to Bt20-Bt22 per kilo, and lettuce is up from Bt20-Bt22 to Bt22-Bt25 a kilogram.

Also, with the upcoming Mother's Day celebrations, the price of jasmine flower has soared from Bt150 a kilo last month to Bt350 this week.

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