Authorities Clarify Rising Pork Prices in Vientiane Capital

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Vientiane officials patrol wet markets to stop price gouging
Vientiane officials patrol Huakhua Market for opportunistic price gouging of essential goods such as pork. Photo courtesy of Vientiane Mai.

Authorities in Vientiane Capital have issued a statement regarding an increase in pork prices, saying insufficient supply in neighboring countries has affected Laos.

Pork prices have quickly risen at fresh markets and supermarkets across Vientiane Capital, impacting local consumers, Lao National Radio reports.

Market prices ranged between LAK 37,000 and LAK 45,000 per kilogram in December, rising to LAK 50,000 per kilogram in under a month.

Director of the Vientiane Agriculture and Forestry Department, Mr. Larsay Nouanthasing, told the media that problems in neighboring countries have spilled over to Laos.

Reduced supply and increased demand in Thailand due to African swine fever outbreaks, for example, has meant that more Lao pork has been exported, resulting in insufficient supply and higher prices locally.

At the same time, high inflation and a rising cost of living have meant producers face higher costs as well, according to Director Larsay.

Economic recovery following the easing of Covid-19 measures, including the reopening of restaurants, domestic tourism, and other activities, has meant production has not kept pace with demand, says Mr. Larsay.

African Swine Fever outbreak in northern Laos

He said that during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, many farms in Laos had discontinued raising pigs, resulting in lesser production capacity, while some farms even relocated their production base to other provinces due to variability in regulatory compliance.

“Some 18,488 tons of pork, or 284,276 pigs, was consumed in 2021, while demand is expected to reach 19,0888 tons or 293,661 pigs in 2022, however only around 15,982 tons or 244,492 pigs will be available locally,” said Mr. Larsay.

“Authorities are attempting to find a solution to the problem of high pork costs by focusing on implementing measures such as forming farming cooperatives, increasing the number of sows to 3,000, and restoring pig farms, while the government must also have specific policies, such as supporting animal feed factories to increase production capacity, etc,” Mr. Larsay added.

There are currently 188 pig farms in Vientiane Capital, but 33 have suspended operations amid economic difficulties, leaving 155 farms and 126,084 pigs available.

Meanwhile, the government of Laos has banned the import of certain types of farm produce, livestock, and fish, hoping to spur domestic production.