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Livestock sector asks gov’t to let supplies through blockades

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A vendor sells beef and pork in Kandal province on April 20. YOUSOS APDOULRASHIM

Livestock sector asks gov’t to let supplies through blockades

Livestock industry players have asked the government to allow the movement of raw feed materials and medical supplies across blockades amid lockdown to support animal husbandry.

Most of these supplies are stored in Phnom Penh, which along with Kandal province’s Takmao town was locked down by the government from April 15-28 with severe travel and trade curbs to end the spread of Covid-19 from the February 20 community outbreak.

Farmers are sounding the alarm that the meat market supply could be devastated, which could end with breeders poised on the brink of bankruptcy.

Cambodia Livestock Raisers Association director (CLRA) Srun Poav told The Post on April 20 that while the livestock situation was still unfolding, things could snowball out of control on a national scale soon.

The bulk of ingredients used to make food, medicine, vitamins and vaccines are stored in the capital, he said.

"On behalf of the CLRA, I would like to ask the government to consider the possibility of facilitating the transport of feed materials, most of which are in Phnom Penh.

“If they can’t make their way to farms, it’ll leave a huge dent in the supply of meat on the market over the next few months," he said.

Pig farmer Chorn Heng, who raises about 10,000 pigs in eastern Kandal province's Kien Svay district, said his farm would be in dire straits without the proper vaccines and ingredients for feed.

He said authorities have yet to respond to his pleas for supplies to be delivered before the lockdown is lifted.

Dips in domestic livestock production customarily push up market prices and create numerous problems for farmers, Heng remarked. “I’d like for the authorities to facilitate the transportation of products for animal husbandry as soon as possible," he said.

According to Poav, live pigs currently sell for around 13,000-14,000 riel ($3.25-3.50) per kilogramme and pork costs 18,500 riel per kilogramme.

"The price of pork on the farm and at the counter remains unchanged now compared to before the government imposed lockdown measures in Phnom Penh and neighbouring Takhmao town, prices have only fluctuated on the market," he said.

Chea Sothearoth, owner of a chicken farm in Kampong Chhnang province, said that the current supply capacity is woefully inadequate to handle demand. Failure to remove obstacles to moving medicines and ingredients in time could reduce supply.

"We know the government's measures are to ensure the safety of the people’s lives, but we just want them to let us, the farmers, make priority visits to farms, to ensure supply," he said.

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