The Cambodia Livestock Raisers Association (CLRA) has called on locals to increase pig production to curb imports as pork prices and demand rise.
Its director Srun Poav said pig farming in the Kingdom remains relatively limited following the outbreak of African swine fever (ASF) last year.
This is despite the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries enhancing its policy to support pig farming.
Poav told The Post on Monday that before the outbreak, domestic pig production could supply nearly 80 per cent of market demand.
ASF killed thousands of pigs last year, with many more being culled to prevent the spread of the disease, leading supply to a mere 60 per cent of demand, he said.
He said the decline has led Cambodia to import around 2,000 to 3,000 pigs daily to meet domestic demand.
“We are facing a shortage. I suggest that farms and individuals start raising more pigs. Moreover, the price of pigs at this time is also very high, which could prove very profitable for farmers,” said Poav.
He said live pigs currently sell for around 13,000 riel ($3.18) per kilogramme, up from 8,000 riel during the same time last year. Daily demand for pigs for consumption amounts to around 6,000-7,000 head.
In July, the ministry’s General Directorate of Animal Health and Production said more than 3,000 pigs were culled in Cambodia due to the ASF outbreak in five provinces, namely Ratanakkiri, Tbong Khmum, Svay Rieng, Takeo and Kandal.
Last year’s outbreak forced several pig farmers to cut their losses and leave the industry.
Chorn Heng, a pig farmer in Kandal province’s Kien Svay district with more than 15 years of experience, said he had not resumed pig farming operations this season as there is no guarantee that his livestock would mature.
It takes four to five months to sell his entire stock, he said, but the outbreak of a new disease like last year’s ASF would kill all of his pigs before then.
“I won’t dare raise [pigs] again, because there is no medicine available for such diseases,” said Heng, adding that the outbreak did not affect him personally as his entire stock of 1,500 pigs had been sold before the disease struck a nearby farm.
Ministry spokesman Srey Vuthy said it has implemented a policy to encourage more farmers to raise pigs.
He said the spread of ASF in the Kingdom caused hesitation among farmers to continue in the industry. Pig farming dropped significantly last year.
However, he expressed optimism that “pig farming will grow again this year because pigs are becoming more marketable”.
General Directorate of Agriculture deputy director-general Srun Sokhom told a press conference on February 3 that the Kingdom consumed 290,000 tonnes of meat last year while only 240,000 tonnes was produced locally.
“We plan to produce 335,000 tonnes of meat by 2030 to fill the shortage and curb imports,” said Sokhom.
He said chicken and ducks account for 20 per cent of meat production in the Kingdom, cattle 27 per cent and pigs 57 per cent.
UN Food and Agriculture Organisation data shows that the average Cambodian eats 17.6kg of meat per year – including 5kg of beef, 9.29kg of pork, 3.3kg of poultry and 0.01kg miscellaneous meats.