Council of Agriculture (COA) Minister Chen Bao-ji (陳保基) yesterday said the council may prohibit sales of oversized pigs to maintain reasonable pork prices.
Chen made the remarks at the Legislative Yuan as lawmakers sought solutions to fluctuating agricultural product prices, including skyrocketing pork prices. Chen said the council will try to stabilize the surging pork prices.
An outbreak of porcine epidemic diarrhea that started late last year has killed nearly 220,000 piglets, raising pork prices to NT$82.9 per kilogram on Saturday last week.
Chen said the council will do its best to restore wholesale pork prices to between about NT$70 and NT$75 per kg within two weeks.
Chen said some farmers are now raising larger pigs in the hopes of boosting prices, adding that oversized pigs weighing 144kg or even 152kg were found in the market. The normal size should be between 115kg and 120kg.
“When pigs become overweight, their risk of getting diseases or being hurt increases,” Chen said, adding that because vaccines also become less effective on larger pigs, oversized animals could cause negative effects for overall disease prevention.
“Therefore, the council may take certain measures, hoping farmers can release their normal-size pigs accordingly,” he said. “We are also considering prohibiting oversized pigs from entering the market.”
Chen said the council is working with the Fair Trade Commission to investigate whether prices were forced up artificially.