With breeding programs and massive processing facilities in the works, Cambodia’s pork industry is going large-scale
Photo by: Heng Chivoan
One of the pigs imported from England that is hoped to help boost Cambodia’s pork production.
CAMBODIA'S small-scale pork industry may be set for an overhaul, with large-scale breeding programs and factory-farm projects in the works.
The arrival of 150 breeding pigs from England on Monday, coupled with planned factory farms and processing facilities, are part of what sources say is an unprecedented change in the industry.
The Mong Reththy Group, which is set to import three more shipments before February, said it hopes to boost local production and quality.
The pigs will initially be used for breeding to increase pork supplies while curbing illegal pig imports from neighbouring countries.
"We won't sell or distribute [the pigs] to any farms for selling in the market until we breed 2,000 or 3,000 more," said Tann Monivann, the group's vice chairman.
The company announced the plan in September, saying it would invest US$5 million to buy 600 male and female breeders to boost domestic supplies.
"The only solution for meeting local pork demand is to import breeders and distribute them to local pig raisers," Mong Reththy told a meeting of the Swine Business Forum on September 11.
Cambodia consumes 7,000 pigs per day - 1,600 in Phnom Penh alone, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
The government allows imports of up to 800 pigs daily, principally from Thailand, but many more are smuggled from abroad.
In October, the Mong Reththy Group said it had finished building a $1 million quality-control facility on five hectares of land in Phnom Penh with a capacity to inspect 10,000 imported pigs per day.
Later that month, the company said it would invest another $4 million in a state-of-the-art slaughterhouse and processing facility that meets international sanitary standards.
The facilities would be equipped with imported German machinery and are slated to open next year.
The Cambodian Pig Farmers Association said it is pleased with the new arrivals.
"I think the price of piglets and pigs will drop if there are more competitors in the market," said Srun Pov, adding that the program will benefit large numbers of people.
However, he said that illegal pig imports remain a serious problem for the industry.
"If the government does not crack down on smuggling, it will kill the local pig farmers," Srun Pov said.
He said the pork industry is slowly consolidating and that small farmers with less than 30 animals may be driven out of business.
Local farmers supply about 30 to 40 percent of the market, down from 50 to 60 percent before illegal imports gained a foothold.
Meanwhile, the Thai Betagro Group announced on the weekend plans to build a $4.5 million pig-breeding farm in Cambodia next year and an $8.5 million animal-feed plant in the next two years.
The farm would be capable of raising 2,000 animals, and the feed plant would have a capacity of 6,000 tonnes per month, according to a report in the The Nation.
Betagro expanded into Cambodia three years ago and exports 2,000 tonnes of animal feed to Cambodia every month, the report said.