Switch to Pork Raises Price Fears

by 5m Editor
2 August 2013, at 7:10am

HONG KONG - There are fears that markets will increase the price of pork as consumers turn to the meat instead of chicken amid worries about avian flu outbreaks.

Meat vendors say pork wholesale prices have surged to a six-month high of HK$1,570 per 100 catties as imports from the mainland have fallen.

The Standard reports that an alliance representing meat vendors has written to the government to demand closer supervision of suppliers Ng Fung Hong, Guangnan and Hong Kong Agriculture Special Zone Development.

They warn that consumers may end up having to pay more if the trend persists.

On average, the wholesale price of pork has gone up 18 per cent, from an average of HK$1,187 per 100 catties in March to an average of HK$1,401 per 100 catties last month. The wholesale price rose to HK$1,546 on Wednesday, 31 July.

However, Secretary for Food and Health Ko Wing-man said supply and the retail price of live pigs are similar to those of last year, and there is competition in the market because there are three suppliers.

Chan Chin-ming of the Hong Kong Live Pig and Meat Trade Workers' Union said more people are eating pork, fearing bird flu.

Mr Chin-ming said the supply of live pigs has fallen because the mainland has banned some substances used to feed pigs, so it takes longer to raise them. The hike in the yuan has also pushed up the wholesale price.

"Though there has been a steady price hike in the wholesale market, it does not affect the retail market due to the fierce competition between wet markets and supermarkets."

Hong Kong Pork Traders General Association chairman Hui Wai-kin said that over the past two weeks, the price of fresh pork in the mainland rose 11 per cent.

This had led to a nine to ten per cent price hike in the wholesale pork market.

Pork-stall owners said they did not increase the retail price despite the high wholesale price.

"I keep the same prices for pork as I don't want to put the burden on my loyal customers," said Shing Chung-ho, who owns a pork stall in Shau Kei Wan.

Another stall owner, surnamed Chong, said he will have to increase prices if the trend continues.

Customer Yvonne Fung Wai-ha said: "If the price of pork rises, it will be really hard on us as beef is even more expensive."