The ban on importing pigs from Vietnam due to an outbreak of African swine fever has made Thailand the sole supplier of the animal to Cambodia, the head of a livestock association told The Post on Wednesday.
Cambodia Livestock Raisers Association data indicates that the Kingdom’s domestic pig supply is not sufficient to meet demand. On average Cambodians consume some 5,000 to 6,000 pigs per day, of which 20 per cent are imported from abroad.
But this month, the authorities banned the importation of more than 500,000 pigs from Vietnam to prevent the spread of African swine fever, which has taken hold among the country’s pigs.
More than 1.7 million Vietnamese pigs have been culled since the disease was first detected again in February this year.
Srun Poav, the Cambodia Livestock Raisers Association director, told The Post that before the outbreak of African swine fever in Vietnam, the Kingdom imported some 1,000-1,500 pigs per day from Thailand and Vietnam.
But with the current ban in place, Cambodia now relies on imports from Thailand. “Currently, more than 1,000 live pigs are imported from Thailand every day due to the African swine fever hitting Vietnam,” he said.
Poav said the outbreak of African swine fever in Vietnam has increased the price of pigs in Cambodia and that live pigs now sell in the Kingdom’s markets for 11,000 riel ($2.75) per kg, almost double compared to the same period last year.
However, he claimed that pigs are still being illegally imported from Vietnam by traders in defiance of the ban.
“Those who are illegally importing pigs from Vietnam will kill the industry in Cambodia because if any farm becomes infected with the disease, it will spread and all the pigs will die."
“I urge the authorities to strictly uphold law enforcement so that pigs cannot be imported from the prohibited country,” he said.
Chan Sothea, general manager of Hok Hieng Co – a farming company that is currently rearing more than 2,000 pigs – said about 400 pigs were illegally imported from Vietnam each day.
“Importing pigs from Vietnam could pose a great risk for domestic pig raisers as it can infect our pigs with African swine fever,” he stressed.
He continued that it would benefit Cambodia to reduce foreign imports of pigs as they lower the prices the Kingdom’s farmers receive when selling their livestock.
Tan Phannara, the General Department of Animal Health and Animal Production director at the Ministry of Agriculture, declined to comment.