The outlook of local farmer’s remained dismal even as the price of pigs doubled during the second quarter, with many of them pointing to a lack of government regulation as a factor that is sowing market unreliability. Rising to $2.20 per kilogram from just over $1, the rate has surpassed the break-even point of $1.80 per kilo.
Industry insiders said the price could be attributed to a falling supply of imports from Vietnam, imports which they say have dominated the market for years.
According to Ly Laville, general manager of M’s Pig ACMC (Cambodia) Co Ltd, the pig farm of Mong Reththy Group, the price of pigs had been on a decline that started in mid-2015 until the recent uptick.
“Even if the pig price doubled, it still wouldn’t be welcomed by domestic farmers as they have been suffering for years,” he said, noting 30 percent of domestic farmers had already given up during the long period of falling prices.
“Domestic farmers are waiting to see the market, how stable is it? They are scared to start raising pigs again,” he said. “Our livestock market is dependent on neighbouring markets, it is hard for [Cambodian] pig farmers to build trust ”.
He claimed that the start of the decline in 2015 was triggered when China stopped importing pigs from Vietnam, saying that cheap livestock then flooded into the Kingdom’s markets.
According to Laville, roughly 8,000 to 10,000 live pigs are sold each day nationwide, of which less than half were bred in Cambodia.
Chet Phirum, deputy director of Cambodia Livestock Raisers Association, said that pig market prices were responding to imports from the country’s neighbours.
“The price of pigs has increased because the price has increased in neighbouring countries . . . our pig farmers don’t receive any benefit from that increase,” he said.
Takeo province pig farmer Soeurn Virak, who gave up his pig farm last year, said it was difficult to start again, since the market was fluctuating.
“It is not easy for us as farmers as we used to suffer from the market,” he said. “It is hard to recover the losses, even though the prices have increased, as there is no confidence in the market.”
Seang Soklin, chief of animal production in Ministry of Agriculture, declined to comment on the market.
While the Ministry of Agriculture officially permits 1,250 pigs to be imported from Vietnam every day to meet local demand, representatives of pig farmers have argued the government was allowing as many as 2,000 to enter per day.
Cambodians consume about 3.2 million pigs a year, or about 8,767 pigs per day, according to information from the Ministry of Agriculture.