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Agro minister seeks to contain ASF

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Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Veng Sakhon has requested the US-Asean Business Council to aid Cambodian pig farmers as they struggle to contain ASF. Photo supplied

Agro minister seeks to contain ASF

Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Veng Sakhon has requested the US-Asean Business Council (US-ABC) to examine options to aid Cambodian pig farmers as they struggle to contain the African swine fever (ASF) epidemic, a ministry statement said on Tuesday.

The request came during a meeting between the ministry and the US-ABC to review investment opportunities in the private agro-production sector.

The statement said the US-ABC met with the Cambodian delegation immediately after the 41st Asean Ministerial Meeting on Agriculture and Forestry held in Brunei on Tuesday and that there was a lot of interest in providing prioritised support for the Kingdom’s agricultural sectors.

The statement said that the US-ABC promised to provide new agricultural technologies to help reduce costs and address labour issues. The Council will also support the Kingdom and help reduce its reliance on fertilisers and pesticides.

The statement continued that the US-ABC expressed interest in providing tools to help reduce the environmental impact from ammonia found in animal excrement and medication to be mixed with animal feed meant to reduce the Kingdom’s reliance on vaccinations.

Sokhon said he was optimistic that “through the cooperation with the US-ABC, Cambodia will be able to access agricultural techniques and technology that may help farmers”.

He expressed hope that the tools would help improve food safety and quality as a growing number of Cambodians are expressing concern over food safety.

The ministry’s General Department of Animal Production and Health deputy director-general Nou Yitika told The Post that the ministry’s request for help was grounded in fears that ASF could seriously damage the Kingdom’s economic development and the global pork supply.

He said: “Although ASF is currently under control, we need new techniques and technology, including equipment, medicines and vaccinations to prevent the spread of this disease and support the pork industry in Cambodia.”

A total of 2,557 pigs died due to ASF as of July 12, according to the ministry’s Department of Health and Public Livestock Treatment’s report. Of that number, almost 800 pigs have been seized by technical officials to be culled.

The disease which is lethal for pigs but harmless to humans spread to Cambodia from China via Vietnamese land crossings.

It was first reported in Ratanakkiri province in March before rapidly spreading to Tbong Khmum, Svay Rieng, Takeo and Kandal provinces in the months that followed.

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