The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries convened a meeting to discuss issues related to meat production in Cambodia. The participants sought to devise solutions to the current market, which has seen lower than normal prices.

The ministry said the January 4 meeting aimed to ensure that all stakeholders, including farmers, importers, slaughterhouses, distributors and vendors have a clear understanding of the current situation.

Agriculture minister Dith Tina chaired the meeting, saying that the ministry would conduct a detailed study to assess the situation, as well as the forces of supply and demand that are at work in the animal production and price chains.

“We are making preparations to manage this issue and ensure we benefit all stakeholders, while guaranteeing consumer welfare,” he said. 

Tan Phanara, director-general of the General Directorate of Animal Health and Production, was designated to lead the emergency meetings, with specialist working groups and other relevant players, in order to protect stable market prices for producers, distributors and consumers.

Animal raiser associations and farmers have complained about the falling prices of cattle, live pigs and other livestock in the market, claiming that the issue has arisen because frozen meat was illegally imported from neighbouring countries. They allege that imported meat is of poor quality and sold at cheap prices.

Srun Pov, director of the Cambodia Livestock Raisers Association (CLRA), said frozen meat imports have had a detrimental effect on domestic animal producers, especially those who raise pigs and cattle.

“The pig and cattle farmers are facing great difficulties, as prices have fallen steeply. Live cattle fetch just 6,000 to 7,000 riel [$1.50 to $1.70]per kilogramme, with pig meat just 5,000 to 6,000 riel per kg. If the authorities don’t take action, farmers are going to continue to struggle,” he added.

Kun Nhim, head of the General Department of Customs and Excise (GDCE), has announced that the body is committed to continuing to crack down on illegally imported meat.

Addressing a recent press conference following a forum on Trade Facilitation Measures under the Customs Jurisdiction, Nhim suggested that the government introduce measures which would allow the GDCE to tackle the issue head-on.

He asked that clearer definitions are created to establish who can import frozen meat, in order to guarantee that cool stores are used and businesses are licensed.

“We are preparing to fine tune some details to strengthen the quality of meat and prevent just anyone from importing frozen meat. Recently, there has been a lot of social media publicity surrounding the inspections of frozen meat warehouses,” he said.