The pork will continue to be expensive in the
latter half of the year as supply shortfall can hardly be eased in a short
period of time, a senior Chinese trade official said Saturday in an interview
"If disasters or epidemics occurred, there would be further price hikes in
regions affected," said Huang Hai, Assistant Minister of Commerce.
Pork wholesale prices polled by the ministry in 36 large and medium-sized
cities averaged 18.57 yuan per kilogram on July 11, up nearly 30 percent from
the 14.25 yuan on May 11. The average retail prices for lean pork has exceeded
22 yuan per kilogram.
The price of pork plummeted in the first half of 2006, and pig raisers
slaughtered their sows and piglets to avoid further losses, Huang said.
What aggravates the situation is the outbreak of blue-eye diseases earlier
this year in major pig production bases. As the disease, also known as Porcine
Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome, often causes miscarriage, many farmers
feel reluctant to replenish their livestock farms with more sows despite the
The total live pigs in stock in May dropped 15 percent to 20 percent
year-on-year while the sales of sows declined by 20 percent to 30 percent
year-on-year in June, according to a joint survey made by the National
Development and Reform Commission, the Ministries of Agriculture and Commerce.
Huang said that the rising global prices for corns and feedstuff also
increased pig breeding costs while floods might destroy roads and indirectly
hamper pork distribution.
"Normally, it will take half a year to complete a pig breeding cycle and make
more pork available on markets. That is why it's so difficult to make a
turnaround in supply-demand relations," Huang said.
To cope with the situation, the trade departments of six provinces and
municipalities including Beijing, Jilin, Tianjin, Shandong, Shanghai and Henan
have signed cooperation protocols on pork production and distribution.
Huang assured the public that the government is capable of securing pork
supply. Local commerce, agricultural and economic planning departments have been
urged to stage an overhaul on local pork reserve.