Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Pig farmers ditch task force to monitor smuggling

Pig farmers ditch task force to monitor smuggling

Pigs are given water at a Mong Reththy feed mill in Preah Sihanouk province in 2013
Pigs are given water at a Mong Reththy feed mill in Preah Sihanouk province in 2013. Sam Rith

Pig farmers ditch task force to monitor smuggling

A private sector task force set up by Cambodia’s pig farmers to monitor live swine imports and investigate reports of illicit smuggling has been disbanded after receiving a cold reception from government officials, the initiative’s leader said yesterday.

Mong Reththy, a prominent local businessman whose agro-industrial conglomerate operates the nation’s largest pig-breeding farm, said the task force was dissolved because the government had objected to its plan to independently investigate reports of swine smuggling.

“Our task force could not cooperate with the Ministry of Agriculture because they claimed that we had no right to monitor smuggling,” he said. “They said that was the duty of a veterinarian, so we dissolved our group.”

The task force, formed by local pig farm owners in April in an effort to curb the falling domestic prices of live swine, had announced its intention to monitor smuggling activity and report any incidents of illegal trade to the relevant government authorities. It also threatened to publicise the names on Facebook of those found in violation of the law and to shame any government officials found to be supporting illicit activities.

Reththy said the dissolution of the task force was the latest blow to a sector that was on the verge of collapse.

“The ministry has shown to us that we [the private sector] have no idea about how to control pig smuggling in order to help local pig farmers from slowly collapsing,” he said sarcastically.

Agriculture Minister Veng Sokhon told The Post yesterday that the government welcomes information provided by the private sector, but the task force would not be permitted to operate unless it formed a legal association.

“We did not deny permission to pig farmers to create a task force,” he said. “But first the pig farmers must form an official association that is in compliance with the law so that we can control their activities, instead of letting an unofficial task force create chaos.”

Sokhon added that while he had listened to Reththy’s pleas to help monitor imports, a private sector organisation had no right to impinge on the work of government officials carrying out their duties.

“We are trying to solve the problem for farmers,” he said. “But Mong Reththy is publicly judging my promises while he claims that our plans will not work because they require numerous ministries to coordinate.”

The minister added that if a legal pig farmer association can prove to the government that the domestic market is capable of supplying local demand the ministry would consider reducing the legal quota on live swine imports to 1,250 pigs per day.

“I have also suggested that the Ministry of Finance and Economy should raise the tax on pig imports in order to create fair competition,” he said. “But, we are in a free market and we can’t block some products without affecting others, especially those for export.”

Reththy confirmed yesterday that he was encouraging the private sector to register a pig farmers association.

“Then we will see if we can work with them,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • PM orders immediate action against ‘sexy’ live streamers

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday ordered immediate action against women who live stream their sales pitches on Facebook wearing revealing clothing. The prime minister said the practice erodes traditional Cambodian values and disgraces women. Hun Sen gave the order to officials attending the Cambodian

  • Trump tweets praise for Kingdom docking ship

    Cambodia continues to earn praise for its humanitarian act of allowing the MS Westerdam cruise ship with more than 2,200 passengers and crew on board to dock at the Preah Sihanouk port. The praise this time comes from none other than US President Donald Trump. “Thank

  • Tourist area greenlit in Sihanoukville

    The National Committee for Coastal Management and Development will coordinate with relevant ministries over the establishment of a billion-dollar tourist area named Neak Reach in Preah Sihanouk province after it was proposed by the Ministry of Tourism. The Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and

  • Organic vegetable retailer unveils QR code scheme for origin source

    Organic vegetable retailer Natural Agriculture Village has introduced QR codes on its product packaging, which will allow consumers to see where their produce comes from. Natural Agriculture Village president Bun Sieng, who is also a member of local distributor Green Gold, told The Post on

  • Hun Sen defends decision to dock Westerdam cruise ship

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Thursday hit back at critics who say he allowed the Westerdam cruise ship to dock in Sihanoukville for political reasons. Speaking at an annual gathering of the Ministry of Interior, Hun Sen said he acted to avert a humanitarian catastrophe

  • Cool heads will defeat Covid-19

    Since Covid-19 was first reported as a world health issue, cruise ships have been the worst to suffer after airlines. The experiences of those who were initially trapped on the Covid-19-stricken Diamond Princess are unimaginable. The cruise ship was rejected from docking at one