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Pig farmers afraid to open shop

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A young boy feeds pigs at his family farm in Pursat province in 2015. The price of live pigs remains stable at 9,000 to 9,200 riel per kg since the second quarter of last year. Heng Chivoan

Pig farmers afraid to open shop

Pig farmers are hesitating to start even family-owned businesses despite higher prices staying stable for over six months. Insiders, meanwhile, offer mixed verdicts on the state of the industry, which they say lacks regulation.

The price of live pigs has remained stable at 9,000 to 9,200 riel ($2.25 to $2.30) per kg since the second quarter of last year, said the Cambodia Livestock Raisers Association.

The association’s deputy director Chet Phirum said on Monday that farmers may start raising pigs again as the price has been stable for a long period, while imports from Vietnam have declined.

“There is hope for our pig farmers. They are starting to farm pigs again since prices are holding steady,” he said.

Pig price drop in 2015

Ly Laville, the general manager of M’s Pig ACMC (Cambodia) Co Ltd, the pig farm owned by the Mong Reththy Group, told The Post in May last year that pig prices declined from 8,000 to 4,000 riel per kg in 2015.

He said the decline was triggered when China, the world’s biggest pork consumer, stopped importing pigs from Vietnam, citing quality concerns. Laville said cheap livestock then flooded into the Kingdom.

After some three years of unprofitable prices, the value of pigs doubled during the second quarter of last year.

Industry insiders said the price rise was due to a falling supply of imports from Vietnam, which they said had dominated the market for years.

However, the outlook for local farmers has remained dismal even following the price increase.

Soeurn Virak, a farmer in Takeo province, said he is hesitating to resume raising pigs.

“I know that pig prices have increased, but I do not want to start again. I feel that it is not secure for the long term,” he said, adding that he is considering farming chickens instead, which he believes offer a more secure market.

Laville said the industry remains under threat from imports so long as there is no clear regulation in place to protect it.

“Even though the price is stable, it doesn’t mean the market is secure. It is still a risk for farmers. It is a free market, so our smallholdings could suffer at any time when there is another flood of imports,” he said, adding that the market still relies on imports.

Thoeun Thorn, a farmer in Kandal province who recently started raising 30 pigs, believes the market will be more secure over the next few years.

“I have noticed the market price increases. It has not only increased in Cambodia but also other countries, especially neighbouring ones."

“I do not want to give up as I still have a pig farm and I have the technical skill to raise pigs. I hope I can still make a profit,” he said.

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