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More money for meat

More money for meat

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A woman selling pork products at a market in Siem Reap city last month. Photo by: Touch Yin Vannith

MEAT prices on Phnom Penh’s markets have seen large gains over the first half of the year, according to figures from the Ministry of Commerce’s Trade Promotion Department.

Local vendors say the price increase comes due to a decrease in imports, forcing purchases of domestically produced animals.

“We started to see price increases back in September last year,” Central Market pork vendor Nary Chey said yesterday.

“I used to pay 17,000 riel (US$4.14) per kg [for my supply], but currently I pay 22,000 riel. It’s harder to sell because of the increases; I only sell 40 kilogrammes each day now, when before I sold 70 kilogrammes.”

Imported pigs from Thailand had also slowed recently, causing further growth in meat prices, he said. Last Thursday, The Bangkok Post reported Thailand had temporarily banned exports of live pigs in a bid to bring down its own prices.

In the first six months of 2011, beef has increased some 12.07 percent to 26,000 riel a kilogramme, smoked fish has seen a 22.63 percent increase to 16,800 riel, and pork has climbed 25.37 percent to 21,800 riel on Phnom Penh markets, the Commerce Ministry’s daily report on Friday showed.

Economics Institute of Cambodia Senior Researcher Neou Seiha said yesterday that meat prices had seen significant increase this year.

“There has been a recent increase in demand for livestock. However, due to rising import costs from Vietnam, merchants are relying on local farmers, whose product is sometimes unreliable and more expensive,” he said.

Still, some domestic farmers say they are benefiting, as their meat fetches higher prices on local markets.

“I am very happy with the current prices, this is the most money I have ever received for my product,” said Kampong Speu province pig raiser Buth Chanta.

Kampong Cham-based pig trader Tim Vuthy said he blamed increase costs in oil and gas as leading to higher costs for pork.

“Prices may decline in coming months due to the imminent fishing season.”

Consumers said they hoped prices would decline, as their meat consumption had decreased with the higher prices.

“Poor people like me can no longer afford to buy [meat],” said Russei Keo district market customer San Sin.

Meanwhile, the ministry’s statistics show chicken prices increased 1.9 percent in the first six months, though some chicken vendors said prices had spiked in recent weeks.

“Before Khmer New Year, I bought a kilogramme [of chicken] for 15,000 riel, but now I pay 18,000 riel,” said Russian Market chicken merchant Sophea Oun.

Demand has dropped following the recent increase, leading to her sales being cut in half to 100 kg per day, she said. Sophea Oun added prices were likely to continue to increase.

“I don’t think prices will be that low again, they will continue to rise,” she said. ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY KHOUTH SOPHAK CHAKRYA

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