Vietnam to import 20,000 pigs from Thailand to rebuild swine fever-hit herd

HANOI (Reuters) - Vietnam will import 20,000 breeding pigs from Thailand this year, state media said on Thursday, as the country is seeking to rebuild its hog herd battered by an African swine-fever outbreak.

First detected in February 2019, the outbreak has forced the culling of around six million pigs, or 20% of Vietnam’s pig herd, resulting in higher pork prices and putting upward pressure on inflation.

While not harmful to humans, the African swine fever is deadly to pigs, with no available vaccine.

The first batch of 250 pigs has been imported from Thailand, and they are expected to start producing piglets by the end of this year, Vietnam News Agency reported, citing deputy agriculture minister Phung Duc Tien.

It said the price of the imported pigs ranges from 13 million Vietnamese dong to 15 million dong ($556.8-$642.4) each.

Tien said local firms had sought permission to import a total of 110,000 breeding pigs this year, the report said.

The government said in March that Vietnam’s inflation could be at 4.22% this year if pork prices can be cut in the country, where pork accounts for three-quarters of meat consumption.

Reporting by Khanh Vu; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman