Business & Economy

Thais turn to crocodile meat as price of pork soars

Bangkok, Jan 22 (EFE).- A sharp rise in the price of pork in recent months has seen Thais turn to crocodile meat, which is more affordable due to an export ban in place during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Wichai Roongtaweechai, who owns a crocodile farm with almost 10,000 of the animals on the outskirts of Bangkok, said the trend was palpable, although he was unsure how long it would last.

“Our sales of crocodile meat have gone up 70% compared to before,” he told Efe.

For the last 20 years, Roongtaweechai has farmed crocodiles to sell their skin for leather, which is used to make shoes, bags and belts but recently he has seen an increase in business dealings with butchers and restaurants in search of a cheaper alternative to pork.

Pork meat, a staple of Thai food, currently sells for around 200 baht ($6) per kilo, three times more than crocodile meat, which has remained lower despite the surge in demand.

Yosapong Temsiripong, president of the Thai crocodile farmer association, said: “Thailand can now get crocodile meat for cheaper than before, since the export of crocodile meat has decreased during Covid-19 situation.”

The price of pork has increased 30% in the last year alone due to outbreaks of viruses, which has led to the cull of 159,000 pigs between March and October 2021, according to the government.

This has fueled rumors of an outbreak of African swine flu in Thailand, something the government denied until last month, when it acknowledged the first official case detected at an abattoir.

Crocodile breeders are making the most of the surge in demand for pork alternatives, aware that it is not likely to last despite the nutritional value of the meat, which is lower in fat and rich in protein. EFE

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