Less smuggling and better local-processing facilities are part of public-private efforts to increase local production and exports
Breeding pigs imported from England. The local pork industry aims to improve sanitary standards and produce export-quality products within five years.
LOCAL pork producers and agriculture officials are pressing ahead with plans to boost the local industry by improving processing facilities, cutting feed prices and cracking down on smuggling.
This year, the government set up additional border inspection points to stem the illegal flow of animals entering the country and is providing free veterinary services to farmers.
"We don't charge for veterinary services for locally bred animals, but we charge 100 riels (2.42 cents) per kilo for imported ones," said Kao Phal, director of the Animal Health and Production Department at the Ministry of Agriculture.
He said that the government's aim is to reduce dependence on imported pigs.
"We are trying to attract more investment in animal food production ... to keep the price low for farmers and create jobs," said Kao Phal.
Officials are also cracking down on smuggling and have installed new inspection points at the border and inside the country.
Each day 800 pigs are imported from Thailand and Vietnam with many more smuggled. Kao Phal said that three smugglers have been caught this year and fined.
Mong Reththy, head of Mong Reththy Group, said his company is spearheading an effort to improve sanitary standards and reduce processing costs.
The company is building a US$1 million processing factory capable of producing 10 tonnes of pork per hour.
The facility will export local pork and pork products within five years, he said.
"We can sell pork abroad at $10 per kilo, but only $5 locally, so we need to encourage exports. Firstly, we need to improve our sanitary standards otherwise nobody will buy local pork," said Mong Reththy. "I think we can export some of the pork and leave local farmers to supply the Cambodian market."
He said that his company will not undercut local farmers, but will raise the standards of the industry.
The facility would source its feed locally, he said, which would allow farmers to sell low-quality grains in-country.
The company hopes to take advantage of Cambodia's free trade agreements by targeting China and Japan as export markets.
In the long term, the company would make dried pork and sausages for export at a $1.8 million facility, said Mong Reththy.
Srun Pov, the first deputy president of the country's biggest pork association, the Cambodian Pig Raisers Association, said that farmers earn nearly double if they process pork locally.
"We are asking the government to encourage local processing to boost the Cambodian pork industry," he said.
He urged the government to focus on cutting feed prices ,which can account for 70 percent of farmers' costs.