The price of meat and vegetables in the domestic market will not see stability in the near future, according to experts.

During a meeting in Hanoi on July 18, ministries discussed strategies to reduce the cost of produce.

Deputy director of the Cultivation Department Pham Dong Quang said that in recent weeks, the prices of vegetables and meat had increased by 20-30 percent in Hanoi and Hai Phong and by 10-20 percent in southern cities and provinces.

It was due to a low yield of vegetables at the end of summer-autumn crop in the northern region, Quang said. Storms also reduced output by 20-30 percent, but he added that prices might fall slightly in October.

Vegetables grown in south Vietnam and transported to the north were shown to be expensive even though imported produce from China fell by 10 percent in the second quarter, he said.

The reduction of Chinese imports was due more to demand from domestic markets than to state policies restricting imports, Quang said.

Meanwhile, prices of pork, beef and poultry surged due to a lack of supply, head of the Animal Husbandry Department Hoang Kim Giao said. At present, pork prices have climbed by 70 percent due to high demand.

Pham Van Dong, deputy head of the Veterinary Department, said Vietnam 's imports in the first half this year reached 53,000 tonnes of all kinds of meat while the imports were 83,000 tonnes for all of last year.

Even this large quantity did not meet domestic demand, Giao said and expected prices to drop 10-15 percent in August.

Farmers disagreed with the expectation. Le Van Me, director of Phu Son Veterinary Joint Stock Company in southern Dong Nai province, said prices of meat could adjust in August but it was impossible to know whether the new rate would be lower or higher.

The Government should attempt to control the prices of meat and feed to avoid a further increase, said Tran Thi Mieng, deputy head of the Farming, Forest and Seafood Processing and Trade Department.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade and the State Bank must support preferential interest rates and loans for veterinary projects, she said.

Cao Duc Phat, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the ministry would closely follow the supply and demand of meat and vegetable markets to find the solution./.