Mong Reththy Group has sold more than US$1.3 million worth of pigs to local markets and farmers during the first seven months of the year, according to the company, while Cambodia imposed a ban on pig imports this month to stop the spread of blue-ear disease.
Although the group’s competition has decreased with the import ban, it has not seen a significant increase in pig sales because the disease has made people scared to consume pork, its manager Ly Laville said yesterday.
“Our pig sales have not grown [with the import ban] so far, but we hope it will rise in the future,” he said.
Prime Minister Hun Sen called for Cambodian people and private companies to stop importing pigs from Vietnam and Thailand on August 4 in order to prevent the spread of blue ear, a respiratory illness affecting pigs.
But in an effort to allay consumers’ fears, Hun Sen earlier this week urged the public to eat pork without fear of contracting the blue-ear disease. “I eat pork every day, and there is no problem,” he said.
Dr Lotfi Allal, a representative of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, said last week that blue-ear disease could not be contracted by humans, but that people “should not eat from affected animals”.
Mong Reththy Group has sold $1.344 million worth of animals this year to the end of July, comprised of 1,400 pure-bred Yorkshire pigs at $410 each and 3,500 local pigs at $220 an animal. It sold just 100 animals to market for $20,000 in 2009.
The firm first imported 600 purebred Yorkshire pigs from Britain, worth $5 million, in November 2008, and Ly Laville said the firm has high hopes for further sales.
“Demand for pig meat in Cambodia is growing bigger and bigger,” he said.
Sales are expected to eventually total between 1,000 and 3,000 pigs per month, according to the firm’s targets, though presently only 700 are sold monthly.
Figures from the Department of Animal Health and Production of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries show that about 2 million pigs were sold at markets in Cambodia last year.