Hong Kong farmers will be allowed to raise pigs in a bid to boost the supply of live swine to the city amid an escalating dispute between pork traders and suppliers. Traders are unhappy with the rising prices and the number of live pigs from suppliers. 'The mainland's Ministry of Commerce and the Guangdong government have already indicated they didn't oppose the idea,' legislator for agriculture Wong Yung-kan said. 'We are now just waiting for the Hong Kong government and the pig farmers to take the initiative.' Ng Fung Hong, one of two suppliers providing most of the city's live pigs from the mainland, also welcomed the scheme, he said. On Tuesday, Kwan Wing-kai, vice-chairman of the Hong Kong Agriculture Special Zone Development Association, disclosed that six local pig farmers were already raising pigs in Guangdong's Shaoguan city - with a capacity for up to a million animals - although these were for the mainland market. 'According to our information, the pigs these farmers raise can be exported back to the city,' he said. The scheme for raising pigs locally came as Ng Fung Hong raised prices by 10 per cent, leading to traders' complaints. A Food and Health Bureau spokesman said it would discuss the issue with mainland authorities and industry representatives. Yesterday, the supply of locally raised pigs was at 580, while 3,930 live pigs were imported from the mainland - just 30 fewer than Wednesday's adjusted total of 3,960, the government website showed. The pork trade's coalition, the Fresh Meat Association, said the figure was about 1,000 short of the city's usual supply needs. Up to 300 pork traders plan to converge on the Chinese Resources Building, Ng Fung Hong's headquarters, to protest against the company. Mr Wong said 300 Hong Kong pig farmers, who supplied about 1,500 live pigs to the city, went out of business last year. 'They could have solved the shortage if they were here,' he said, adding that many of these farmers showed interest in the new scheme. Pig farms were reduced in Hong Kong following tighter government requirements on waste handling and pollution control. Cheng Ka-shing, a veteran local pig farmer who last December moved his pig farms from Hong Kong to Shaoguan, welcomed the policy. 'We would love to offer good pork meat to Hong Kong people,' he said. However, Mr Cheng said he would make more profit if his pigs were sold on the mainland because selling pigs to Hong Kong involved higher transport costs. Mr Cheng, who has a 400-hectare farm, said his stock would not be ready for either the mainland or Hong Kong market until the beginning of next year. 'Our capacity is 30,000 pigs, while the three farms in Hong Kong could only raise about 10,000 pigs,' he said. Earlier, the mainland's Ministry of Commerce also noted that it was considering ending Ng Fung Hong's and Guangnan Hong's duopoly on live pig supplies to Hong Kong. Meanwhile, catering industry legislator Tommy Cheung Yu-yan said customers should expect higher prices on menus due to higher prices for pork, chicken, milk and flour.