Svay Rieng provincial authorities have issued new measures that aim to prevent the illegal import of live pigs, pork and pork products from Vietnam, and said they would be taking legal action against smugglers.
The new measures include increased checks at import points and the seizing of vehicles suspected of carrying smuggled pigs.
Svay Rieng Provincial Administration ordered the provincial police commissioner, border police and all relevant authorities along the border to cooperate with the southeastern province’s Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to enforce the measures.
The administration also issued an instruction to traders to stop the illegal import of pigs and pork products from neighbouring countries into the province effective immediately.
It also instructed its agriculture department to cooperate with local authorities to prevent the import of pigs and pork without the proper permits and paperwork, such as through seizing vehicles suspected of carrying such pigs.
The provincial administration said it issued the measures after detecting pigs being imported that did not undergo proper animal health inspections. The move was also to mitigate the loss of import tax, it added.
Pen Chanthy, director of the Production and Veterinary Bureau at the Svay Rieng provincial Department of Agriculture, said that since the operation to prevent the illegal import of pigs, officials have already issued fines totalling more than 10 million riel ($2,465).
He added that the agriculture department had cooperated with local authorities in seizing vehicles involved in the smuggling of live pigs, and in testing the pigs for infectious diseases and African swine fever. He noted that the operation has found no pigs to have been infected with any severe disease.
“In Svay Rieng, there are hundreds of small [import] corridors, but there are only about 10 officials in the department, so it is inevitable that there are some gaps in prevention efforts. On the night of May 2, we deployed teams at three corridors, but did not see any traders import pigs,” he said.
“Nonetheless, officials and authorities will continue in their efforts to prevent smuggling, especially by stepping up inspections of live pig and pork product import.”
Cambodia Livestock Raisers Association president Srun Pov said that after the Svay Rieng Provincial Administration issued the new instructions, he and his team made plans to stay in the province for another two days to observe the effectiveness of lower-level officials’ crackdown efforts.
He expressed worry that, in response to the increased checks, traders may shift from importing live pigs to pork, which he believes could have a greater impact on domestic pig farming.
“The association’s team, together with relevant officials, have divided their forces to work day and night to prevent smuggling as much as possible. Some traders illegally import pigs from Vietnam, which can affect local pig farmers’ livelihoods, and sometimes those pigs have diseases that can affect the health of consumers,” he said.
According to a report from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the intervention teams of the ministry’s General Directorate of Animal Health and Production, the Phnom Penh municipal agriculture department and its provincial counterparts made a total of 169 inspections of suspected animal and animal import offences in 2021, of which 114 cases were found to have valid permits while 55 did not.