The city's daily supply of live pigs increased to more than 4,500 recently, about 85 per cent of the normal supply, the government said in a Legislative Council panel meeting yesterday. The Food and Health Bureau said that, as of 4pm yesterday, 3,980 pigs had been imported from the mainland. Together with 680 pigs from Hong Kong farms, the total daily supply reached 4,660. Last Friday, about 3,600 pigs were imported from the mainland while some 700 were supplied by city farms. But speaking before yesterday's panel meeting on food safety and environmental hygiene, Meat Alliance spokesman Man Cheuk-pui said that two to three years ago, the mainland exported 5,000 to 6,000 pigs to the city daily. He urged the government to open the pork market as soon as possible. The mainland's Ministry of Commerce has appointed two companies as the main agents for shipments of live pigs to Hong Kong. Ng Fung Hong and Guangnan Hong are responsible for about 80 per cent and 20 per cent of the supply respectively, according to the government. 'The arrangement was set by China's authority,' said Permanent Secretary for Food and Health Cheuk Wing-hing. He said the bureau would discuss with the mainland a further opening of the market. Meanwhile, Choi Chi-wai, vice-chairman of the Hong Kong Agriculture Special Zone Development Association, called on the government to help pig farmers establish farms across the border, and to set up a quota system to help them export their produce back to the city. But Mr Cheuk said the idea had been raised with the mainland early last year after it was proposed by Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong legislator Wong Yung-kan. 'We will keep discussing with mainland-related departments on this issue,' he said. Ng Fung Hong would be very willing to help local pig farmers who herded on the mainland to transport their produce back to Hong Kong, said managing director Guo Jinqing . In a discussion paper given to the panel, the government said live pigs were in short supply because some mainland farmers had cut the number of animals they reared as prices had declined. 'Animal diseases found in some parts of the mainland also affected the production of live pigs,' it said.