Pork vendors flout price ceiling to bring home the bacon

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - Many vendors in the capital are selling pork to consumers without price labels in the hope of retailing their product above the ceiling set by the Vientiane Industry and Commerce Department.

The department announced on January 30 that Grade A pork in markets should be retailed at 40,000 kip per kg and 38,000 kip per kg for Grade B.

However, meat vendors continue to sell pork for more than these prices, hoping to evade detection by authorities.

“Since we issued the notice on pork sales, we have regularly carried out checks on pork prices in markets in the capital’s nine districts,” a representative of the Vientiane Industry and Commerce Department, who wished to remain anonymous, said.

“Our focus is on pork prices in the large markets. We recently inspected Phonsavang market and found two meat vendors selling pork over the set price,” he added.

“A market representative and the department recorded the incidents. The vendors were fined 500,000 kip and 1 million kip, as stipulated in the regulations,” he said.

“We will continue to carry out regular checks and anyone found selling pork above the set price will be fined and prosecuted under the law.”

Consumers in Vientiane have complained they are still paying 45,000 to 48,000 kip a kg for Grade A pork, well above the 40,000 kip ceiling.

According to the announcement issued on January 30, pigs should cost 23,500 kip per kg at the farm gate and 28,500 kip per kg at the slaughterhouse.

Pork is a key ingredient of Lao and international dishes and in Vientiane daily demand is 9.5 tonnes or about 700-750 pigs. On special occasions, this can increase to 800-900 pigs per day.

Large producers can supply 450-500 pigs a day, or over 77 percent of the total, with the remainder coming from smallholder farmers.

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