Small pig farmers are struggling to stay in business as illegal imports of pigs from neighbouring countries rise, squeezing them out of the market, industry insiders say.
Srun Peu, deputy director of the Cambodia Pig Farmers Association, an organisation with 4,000 members, said the increase in illegal pig imports from Vietnam was negatively affecting local production, especially on small farms.
“There are 400 to 500 pigs imported illegally to Cambodia every day,” Srun Peu said.
“It is affecting not only our local pig farmers but also the health of consumers, as there are no quality checks.”
Owners of medium-sized pig farms raised such concerns during an agriculture and agro-industry meeting earlier this week at the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce.
Farmer Chan Sothea, who attended the meeting, said many pig farmers had decided to give up the business because of the competition from illegal imports.
“Small farmers will consider coming back to this business if the authorities can better control the regulations and eliminate illegal imports,” he said.
Many farmers use pig farming to supplement their income. But because local production is low, imports from neighbouring countries are necessary to meet demand.
Farmers said during the meeting that Cambodia legally imported about 800 live pigs a day from nearby countries.
Kao Phal, director of the Department of Animal Health and Production of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, could not be reached for comment yesterday to confirm this number.
According to Peu, the Kingdom consumes 4,000 to 5,000 live pigs a day, but local producers can supply only about 3,000 pigs a day.
Intervention by the government and its supportive policy had played a vital role in revitalising the swine industry and local feed operations in Cambodia, Ros Limhy, national agriculture adviser for the Ministry of Agriculture’s Tonle Sap Poverty Reduction and Smallholder Development project, said yesterday.
“Regulating the amount of living pigs imported from neighbouring countries into the domestic market must not exceed the given licences for 1,000 pigs a day,” he said.