Pork is displayed for sale at a market in Hanoi. Photo by Reuters/Kham.
Pork prices in Vietnam have hit a 5-year high at VND71,000 ($3.1) with domestic production hurt by the African swine fever epidemic.
This is an increase of 18 percent from a month earlier, according to updated data from the Vietnam Animal Husbandry Association.
Nguyen Xuan Duong, acting head of the Department of Livestock Production, said that prices have been rising as Tet, the Lunar New Year Festival, nears, and it is uncertain when the trend will stop.
Prices at major pork producers are now up to VND64,000 ($2.76) per kilogram. Nguyen Dang Phu, deputy director of food company Vissan, said that pork prices at the company have increased six times in the last two weeks.
The government has ordered ministries, agencies and provinces to try and stabilize live pig prices and ensure adequate pork supplies until the end of this year, keeping increased imports as an option.
Domestic supply of pork, which accounted for 70 percent of all meat consumed in the country last year, has been falling since the African swine fever broke out in February and spread to all localities.
Almost 5.7 million pigs have been culled so far because of the virus, according to the General Statistics Office. As of October, the number of pigs in stock had fallen by 20 percent year-on-year, it said.
In the first seven months, Vietnam imported $22.1 million worth of pork, 4.3 times that of the same period last year, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. Major import markets were Brazil, the U.S. and Poland.
Vietnam is expected to face a 500,000-tonne shortage of pork from July to next February, according to global consulting firm Ipsos Consulting.