Vietnam’s effort to lower pork prices hogtied by distributors, consumers

06:00 | 14/05/2020 Trade

(VEN)- The price of pork products has soared due to shortage of domestic supply, while imported pork has not been widely accessible to consumers due to poor distribution and consumer habits.

vietnams effort to lower pork prices hogtied by distributors consumers
Domestic consumers prefer newly slaughtered or fresh pork products to frozen imported ones

The shortage stems in part from the African swine fever that ravaged Vietnam’s hog herd and more recent temporary shutdown of the nation’s largest meat processing plants due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Data from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Department of Animal Health showed that as of April 7, 2020, Vietnam imported more than 43,553 tonnes of pork, an increase of more than 300 percent over the same period in 2019. Economists said the amount of imports represented a small percentage of the actual demand and was not big enough to lower the domestic pork price.

Nhieu Loc Co., Ltd. and AUVIET Foods are offering imported frozen pork products at a price of VND77,000-98,000/kg, mostly to collective kitchens, restaurants, hotels, industrial parks and schools. In Hanoi, fresh or newly slaughtered pork products are sold for VND130,000-180,000/kg in traditional markets and VND200,000-250,000/kg in supermarkets. In big supermarkets such as Vinmart, Coopmart, and Big C, imported pork is scarce and accounts for only one to two percent of pork sales.

A Big C supermarket representative said Big C supermarkets in northern provinces and cities do not sell frozen imported pork products; while the southern ones do, frozen imported pork represented less than one percent of their pork sales. Mega Market (MM) is distributing pork products imported from Europe and America but they account for only two percent of the system’s pork sales.

Vu Vinh Phu, former Chairman of the Hanoi Supermarket Association attributed the modest sales of frozen imported pork products to poor distribution and sales promotion, small traders’ lack of storage freezers, and consumers demand for fresh or newly slaughtered pork. Phu said frozen imported pork products should be distributed at a price 30-40 percent lower than that of domestic fresh pork products to attract buyers, and distribution should be improved to increase frozen imported pork sales.

Vietnam will boost the import of pork products from the US, Brazil, Laos, and Cambodia if livestock companies in Vietnam do not keep their pork prices stable, said Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Phung Duc Tien at a recent online meeting on promoting agricultural production in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Nguyen Hanh