The Ministries of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, and Commerce on Thursday rejected a request from a local business to import one million pigs a year from Thailand.
Officials said the proposal was rejected because it would affect local farmers’ livelihoods as Cambodia pushes to produce more quality food.
The decision was made during a meeting between agriculture minister Veng Sakhon and commerce minister Pan Sorasak on the import and export of pigs.
Director-general of the General Directorate of Animal Health and Production, Tan Phannara confirmed the two ministers decided to reject the request from BYG Worldwide Group Co Ltd (BYG).
“Currently we allow the import of 6,300 pigs [per day from Thailand] to fill the demand gap in the country. If we allow more imports it will affect our farmers and companies.
“The ministries support the recommendation of Samdech [Prime Minister] Hun Sen to cut imports and increase local animal husbandry, fish farming and crop planting. This will create jobs for our people,” he said.
BYG sent the request to Hun Sen on July 9. It said it would donate pork to schools and military units every week, or to communities during holidays like the Pchum Ben festival. The import of the pigs would ensure food safety and create jobs for people, the letter said.
If the request had been granted, BYG would have imported the pigs through the Phnom Dey, Daung and O’ Smach international border checkpoints. BYG said it would pay taxes set by law.
Cambodia Livestock Raisers Association director Srun Poav welcomed the ministries’ decision to reject BYG’s proposal.
“The recommendation and the practice are good. This will help the country, farmers and those who have lost their jobs. It will help them to work in animal husbandry and agriculture.
“On behalf of the association, I am really happy that the relevant ministries rejected the request. If they allowed it, it would affect local prices and bring diseases from outside the Kingdom. Our farmers would be jobless,” he said.
Sakhon said in a Facebook post that the meeting was held following Hun Sen’s recommendation on Tuesday to increase the local production of pigs, livestock and fish to serve local demands and for export.
He said the agriculture ministry is promoting local livestock production to ensure Cambodia has enough quality supplies. This, he said, will also improve local livelihoods by increasing investments in animal husbandry and creating jobs.
He said the relevant ministries will hold a meeting later this month to look into the possibility of increasing animal food production and reducing electricity prices for such companies as recommended by the prime minister.