Improvement in the price of live pigs has steadily pushed up domestic pig production, Cambodia Livestock Raisers Association (CLRA) president Srun Pov said on Thursday.
This comes amid government efforts to encourage investors and breeders to ramp up capacity to keep up with local demand and enable the Kingdom to export in the future, he said.
Early last month, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries issued a directive on stepping up agricultural production promotion campaigns in a bid to increase food production and animal husbandry to meet domestic and international demand.
To solve the Kingdom’s food security issues in a timely manner, the order highlighted the need for initiatives centred on inspiring small-scale and family-run farms that raise short production-cycle species with a high turnover of animals.
The CLRA’s Pov told The Post that last year’s outbreak of African swine fever decimated pig farming in the Kingdom, especially among family-raised livestock without the proper biosafety procedures in place.
Many pigs perished while the remainder fetched the disappointing prices of the time, he said.
But the price of live pigs in the Kingdom has rallied since the beginning of this year, he said, with the price currently at 13,000-13,500 riel ($3.18-$3.30) per kg, up from just 8,000 riel in the same time last year.
“The price of live pigs has been stable for about a month. This is a very good price that is sure to profit farmers,” Pov said, adding that large-scale and family-run farms have enjoyed productivity growth.
He said the daily local demand for pork is currently between 8,000 and 9,000 pigs. The Kingdom must import 2,000-3,000 pigs daily to keep up.
He stressed how vital biosafety and sanitation measures are to sustainable animal breeding.
Nhim Savath, a former pig farm owner in Kandal province who now supplies local farmers with weaner piglets and pig feed, said pig production is making a strong comeback from the days of ASF as prices continue to rise and concerns over the lack of a market dissipate.
“I chose to stop raising pigs as there weren’t enough workers, but I stayed in the business because of the good market,” he said.
The ministry’s game plan to curb pig imports will unquestionably shore up domestic farming, as long as an epidemic doesn’t strike like ASF did last year, he said.
Soth Chantha, from a family-run farm in Battambang province’s Banan district just southwest of the provincial capital, said she was raising 30 pigs when ASF hit, forcing her to sell them at sharply lower prices.
The outbreak compelled her to quit and take up chicken-raising instead, she added. “I transformed the pigsty into a chicken coop. Raising chickens is easy and it doesn’t cost as much to buy chicks as it does piglets.”
Early in February, Srun Sokhom, deputy director-general of the ministry’s General Directorate of Agriculture, said the Kingdom consumed 290,000 tonnes of meat last year while only 240,000 tonnes was produced locally.
“We plan to produce 335,000 tonnes of meat by 2030 to fill the shortage and curb imports,” he said.
UN Food and Agriculture Organisation data shows that the average Cambodian eats 17.6kg of meat per year – including 5kg of beef, 9.29kg of pork, 3.3kg of poultry and 0.01kg miscellaneous meats.