The price of animal-feed raw materials has surged this year, due mainly to the high demand for fuel crops.
Hardest hit have been pig farmers, who face rising costs of feed but also a fixed selling price.
Increasing commodity prices, particularly crops used to produce alternative energy, have created trouble for livestock raisers, Yanyong Phuangrach, director-general of the Internal Trade Department, said yesterday.
For instance, the price of soybean meal has jumped almost 50 per cent, from Bt10 to Bt11 per kilogram early this year to Bt16.50 now. The maize price has increased 9.1 per cent to Bt8.15 per kilogram, from Bt7.47 in January.
The costs borne by pig farmers have increased Bt500 per 100kg pig. The slowing economy has reduced consumers' purchasing power for pork by 15-20 per cent, while the Internal Trade Department has frozen the price for pigs at the farm door at Bt45 per kg.
There are about 117,000 pig farmers in Thailand, and the government should allow them to import cheaper feeds from neighbouring countries, such as Laos, Yanyong said.
Yanyong also called for pig farmers to decrease their production costs as the price of commodities is likely to gradually increase.
One of the strategies to lower farmers' costs is to balance supply in line with the demands of the market to prevent the pig price dropping. The Thai Animal-Feed Manufacturers' Association has agreed to freeze its prices to help pig and other livestock farmers as well.
Pornsilp Patcharintanakul, president of the association, said despite the trend of rising prices for animal-feed raw material because of high demand for fuel crops, the association would try to keep the price frozen as long as possible.
Pornsilp said the increasing demand for fuel crops would continue to drive the price of all types of commodities. He pointed out that the price of soybean meal would never again be as low as in the past, because of rising demand in the world market.