The wholesale price of pork in China surged 74.6 percent in June compared with the same month last year, the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) announced on Monday.
The ministry, however, did not provide the average wholesale price last month.
The wholesale prices polled by the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) in 36 large and medium-sized cities averaged 18.57 yuan per kilogram on July 11, up nearly 30 percent from the 14.25 yuan on May 11. The average retail price for lean pork has exceeded 22 yuan per kilogram.
The price hikes in feedstuff and the outbreaks of the blue ear disease are mainly blamed for the pork price surge.
According to the MOA, the prices of rice, wheat and corn rose 7.9 percent year-on-year in the first half of the year. Meanwhile, 39,455 pigs or 27.5 percent of the pigs that contracted blue ear disease in 586 epidemic areas, had died by July 10.
Blue-ear pig disease remains a severe challenge to China's Yangtze River valley despite the fact that the outbreak has been basically brought under control on the whole, the MOA said on Saturday.
The MOA, the MOC and the National Development and Reform Commission urged local authorities on Monday to ban new corn processing facilities that helped push up the prices of corn.
The three agencies also ordered local officials to ban pork that was injected with water and failed safety tests to enter the market and to eliminate the blue ear disease to ensure pork supply.
The price of pork plummeted in the first half of 2006, prompting pig raisers to slaughter their sows and piglets to avoid further losses.
The nation's pig population stood at 476 million at the end of June, down 0.15 percent from the same period last year.
The pork price will continue to rise in the second half of the year as the supply shortfall can hardly be eased in a short period of time, said Huang Hai, Assistant Minister of Commerce.
"Normally, it will take half a year to complete a pig breeding cycle and make more pork available on markets. That is why it's so difficult to make a turnaround in supply-demand relations," Huang said.
The hikes in pork price, along with other food price rises, have pushed the consumer inflation in May to 3.4 percent, much higher than the target of three percent set by the Chinese government for the whole of 2007.
(Xinhua News Agency July 17, 2007)