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High feed prices, cheap imports slam pig sector

High feed prices, cheap imports slam pig sector

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Farmers say they can't support the expansion of their farms while facing both rising operating costs and the falling market price of pork

Photo by: Tracey Shelton

Pigs sleep at a farm in Kampong Cham province.

Local pigs farmers say sky-high feed prices and cheap imports are driving them out of business.

Pig farm supervisor Srun Sour said feed prices have more than doubled this year, while pork prices have dropped some 2,000 riels per kilo.

Corn prices have risen to 1,250 riels per kilo from 600 riels last year, while soybeans hit 1,200 riels per kilo from 500 riels last year. Rice dust has gone from 700 riels last year to 1,200 riels now, Srun Sour  said.

"We are trying to promote pig farms to provide jobs to local people - especially farmers who grow corn, soybeans and rice. But imported pigs from neighboring countries threaten our farms," Srun Sour ssaid.

"The government should definitely cut the number of imported pigs to assure the sustainability of the local industry," he said.

Ho Seung Thur, a former pig farmer from Sdav village, Dey Eth commune, Kien Svay district, Kandal province, said his farm went bankrupt last month due to high feed prices and falling income.

"The sale price of pigs does not balance with its costs," said Ho Seung Thur.

"The estimated cost of raising one kilo of pork is 9,000 riels, but traders offer only 7,000 riels per kilo for live pigs."

Som Siborin, a pig farmer from Kandal province, told the Post that he will sell his farm next month if prices stay high.

"I still have about 400 pigs in my farm and I will sell all the pigs and the farm next month,"he said, adding that he needs to raise money to repay a microfinance loan he took out in early 2007.

Thai pigs

Som Siborin said he has seen large-scale pig-smuggling from Thailand that is undercutting domestic pig prices.

"These imports have caused pig  prices to decline, but the price of food is increasing, so we cannor afford to pay our debt," said Som Siborin.

Soam Sin, the deputy governor of Kien Svay district in Kandal province, urged the government to cut pig imports.

"I think, if imports were cut 20 percent, local pig raisers will no longer go out of business," he said.

According to Animal Health and Production Department (AHPD), the entire country needs about 7,000 pigs per day, and Phnom Penh alone consumes about 1,600 pigs per day. 

AHPD reported that Cambodia imports 600 pigs per day from Thailand for the Phnom Penh market with the remainder raised locally.

"Cambodia needs to improve pig raising in Cambodia, otherwise we cannot compete," said AHPD.

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