Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Concern over Vietnam swine fever

Concern over Vietnam swine fever

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Pigs in a pen at a Kampong Chhnang province farm on November 1, 2017. Heng Chivoan

Concern over Vietnam swine fever

An outbreak of African swine fever (ASF) in Vietnam is threatening Cambodia’s domestic pig market, with industry insiders​ concerned that illegally imported pigs could bring the disease to Cambodia.

However, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has announced measures to prevent an outbreak in the Kingdom.

ASF has been detected on three farms in two provinces in northern Vietnam, prompting Vietnamese authorities to slaughter 253 pigs to prevent the virus from spreading, according to the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture’s Animal Health Department.

Cambodia Livestock Raisers Association director Srun Poav said the discovery of ASF has prompted countries to abruptly stop purchasing pigs from Vietnam. But he said pigs would still be illegally imported into Cambodia.

“The association is deeply concerned. [We] are afraid of illegal importing [of both sick and healthy] pigs from Vietnam to Cambodia. The Philippines has already announced the suspension of pork imports and live pigs from Vietnam to prevent the spread of disease to their pigs,” he said.

On average, Cambodia consumes about 5,000 pigs per day, about 20 per cent of which are imported from Vietnam and Thailand.

Poav said because the Kingdom imports so many pigs from Vietnam, without robust controls it is possible the disease will spread to Cambodia.

“Because domestic supply cannot meet market demand, I would like to ask the government to carefully check and control the import of live pigs and pork from Vietnam to Cambodia,” he said.

According to Poav, ASF has not yet been detected in Cambodia, but there is a clear need to take proactive precautions.

He said live pigs cost 10,000 to 10,400 riel per kg ($2.50 to $2.60), which is a good price for farmers having almost doubled compared to last year.

Preventing spread of disease

Chorn Heng, who owns a pig farm in Kandal province’s Kien Svay district, said on Thursday that he was extremely concerned. He called on the government to carefully control imports from Vietnam.

“I strongly request the relevant authorities to help check at the border to prevent the import of sick pigs into Cambodia,” he said.

In response to the growing concerns, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries on Thursday issued a directive detailing urgent measures to prevent the disease’s spread.

The ministry urged all relevant institutions under its remit, especially those in provinces bordering Vietnam, to implement a series of measures.

Illegal imports of live pigs and pork products from Vietnam must stop immediately, the ministry said. Secondly, all pigs and pork products must have a hygiene certificate from the exporting country. Livestock must also be monitored by animal health and pork hygiene veterinary specialists.

Regular checks should be carried out on local pigs’ health, the directive said, and Cambodian farmers, experts and officials should work closely with their Vietnamese counterparts to exchange information about ASF in order to swiftly and effectively prevent its spread.

The directive also urged experts to educate farmers, villagers and animal health agencies at all levels of pig management.

ASF is not a health risk humans but in pigs it causes hemorrhagic fever with a nearly 100 per cent mortality rate. There is currently no cure nor is there an approved vaccine. Once pigs are infected, the only measure is to cull the affected herds.

China, the world’s leading pork producer and consumer, reported its first case of ASF in August 2018 in Liaoning province. Since then, the disease has spread to the south, leading to the slaughter of 38,000 pigs.

MOST VIEWED

  • Touch: Rainsy will never return

    Sam Rainsy, the “acting president” of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), has claimed it has achieved 70 per cent of its struggle to find a solution to the current political situation in the Kingdom. Just before boarding a plane at Charles de Gaulle

  • Sokha continues call for dropping of charge after bail conditions reduced

    Not satisfied with having his bail conditions reduced, allowing him to travel freely in Cambodia, Kem Sokha says he wants his charge totally dropped. “As an innocent man who has been in detention for two years even without being found guilty, I continue to demand

  • Sar Kheng: Rainsy return not blocked

    Minister of Interior Sar Kheng clarified that Cambodia had never blocked Sam Rainsy from returning to the Kingdom. However, he said Cambodia reserved the right to take legal action as allowed by law against activities aimed at destroying the Kingdom. “No one blocked the return

  • Reports: Rainsy barred from Jakarta flight

    Sam Rainsy was on Wednesday refused entry to a flight from Malaysia to Indonesia, media reported late on Wednesday. The “acting president” of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party’s announced return to the Kingdom on Independence Day on Saturday failed to occur. Rainsy

  • King Sihamoni presides over opening of Water Festival

    King Norodom Sihamoni presided over the lighting of the lantern barges, representing the many ministries, in front of the Royal Palace on Sunday as the first day of the annual Water Festival celebrations went smoothly. Bun Veasna, an official at the National Committee for Organising

  • Government studying EU’s preliminary report on EBA

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation on Wednesday said the government was studying the EU Commission’s preliminary report on the human rights situation in the Kingdom that could lead to a suspension of access to its “Everything But Arms” (EBA) agreement. The