Thai livestock farmers cry for help as price of animal feed skyrockets
The Federation of Livestock and Aquaculture has called on the government to urgently help livestock farmers and food businesses struggling under the 20 to 30 per cent jump in animal feed prices.
The federation said the following steps will provide immediate help:
• Cancelling the 2 per cent tax on imported soybean meal
• Cancelling the 9 per cent tax on imported distillers’ dried grain with solubles
• Reducing the proportion of corn used in animal feed and replacing it with imported wheat
• Applying free-market mechanisms to manage demand and supply of raw materials in animal feed so it is in line with current factors and costs.
The federation said these changes will help cut down the losses sustained by farmers and businesses, and support the sustainable growth of the food industry.
Under the official 3:1 feed proportion, Thailand needs 8 million tonnes of corn yearly to keep its animals fed. However, Thailand only produces 5 million tonnes of corn and the rest has to be imported.
The federation said if the proportion was changed to 1.5:1, it would not only boost the capacity and competitiveness of Thailand’s frozen chicken sector but will also end the smuggling of corn from neighbouring countries.
Thailand also needs to import 2.5 million tonnes of soybean meal and seeds to meet its yearly demand of 5 million tonnes.
Meanwhile, the federation said its members consume 90 per cent of the animal feed produced locally and have been hit hard by the 20-30 per cent price surge since the third quarter of 2020 – the highest in 13 years.
The price of imported supplements, vitamins and minerals has also jumped by 20 to 30 per cent, which is affecting the livestock and animal food industry.
Somboon Watcharapongpun, president of the Thai Broiler Association, said policies governing the production of other industrial crops are transparent, unlike corn used for animal feed. For other industrial crops, market mechanisms are automatically applied when the price rises and people can opt for imports to solve the problem.
Kukrit Areepakorn, chief of the Thai Broiler Processing Exporters Association, said animal feed accounts for 60-70 per cent of the cost of breeding animals. Feed also plays a key role in the development of the food industry, especially soybean meal and corn. He said that livestock farmers are not just suffering from the surge in prices, but are also not able to sell or export their products normally due to the Covid-19 crisis.