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Pork sales crash on import ban

PLUMMETING demand following a ban on Thai and Vietnamese pig imports has driven half the pork vendors in Kampong Thom’s market to suspend sales.

Heng Sophal, 40, a pork seller at Kampong Thom market, said she had suspended selling the meat after sales dropped significantly following Prime Minister Hun Sen’s ban of pig imports, to contain the spread of “blue ear” disease.

“Before I sold 200 kilograms per day, but during the past week I could not sell even 10 kilograms,” she said, as buyers are opting for other meats over pork to avoid getting sick, despite government officials’ saying the disease was not transferable to humans.

She said the cost of diseased pork had dropped to 2,000 riels per kilogram, but that ordinary pork maintained its average cost of 15,000 riels per kilogram.

Srun Pov, head of the Cambodian Pig Raisers Association, said yesterday that the outbreak of “blue ear” or porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome was under control after border authorities blocked imports from Vietnam and Thailand.

“Besides the ban ... we also explained to all pig feeders how to protect their pigs from contracting the disease like cleaning the pens and putting antibiotics in their food,” and many pig-sellers had themselves postponed buying pigs until the disease was eradicated, he said.

He suggested that the ban might be lifted next month, with the aim of resuming imports from Thailand – where the outbreak had been more serious than in Vietnam.

Hun Sen announced the suspension of pig imports on August 1, after blue ear first spread to Cambodia in May, threatening the industry.

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