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Border risk remains for swine fever

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Over 100 pigs were slaughtered and incinerated after they were found to be infected with African swine fever in Takeo province in June last year. FACEBOOK

Border risk remains for swine fever

Cambodia continues to restrict imports of live pigs, especially from Vietnam and Thailand, where outbreaks of African Swine Fever (ASF) have been reported in order to prevent the spread of the disease.

Tan Phannara, head of the General Department of Animal Health and Production, told The Post on January 11 that there were currently outbreaks of ASF and bluetongue in Vietnam and Thailand, noting that bluetongue requires a different approach to prevention because it is insect-borne.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said it had instructed relevant departments to continue to monitor and restrict the import of live pigs from abroad to protect the interests of local farmers and strengthen food security in Cambodia.

“With the participation of all stakeholders, in 2020 and 2021 there had been no major outbreaks of African swine fever in Cambodia, although there had been cases where live pigs were imported from Thailand and hundreds of them were reportedly infected with ASF,” he said.

According to Phannara, from August 2018 to June 2019, there were outbreaks of African swine fever in some provinces bordering Vietnam. The disease spread to Cambodia, causing about 400 pigs to get infected and subsequently die.

Livestock officials took action against the disease by burning the pigs and instructed farm owners to keep their farms clean.

Phannara also said that from February to early June 2021, the general department’s mobile Animal Crime Suppression officials cooperated with provincial authorities along the Cambodian-Thai border and that Cambodia and Vietnam cracked down on 190 ASF-infected live pigs that had been imported from Thailand.

Srun Pov, president of the Cambodia Livestock Raisers Association (CLRA), told The Post that the import restrictions helped strengthen and improve the living standards of farmers who raise livestock in Cambodia.

“At the moment, local pig farmers are being told that the price of live pigs has increased from between 10,500 to 11,000 riel [$2.60 to $2.70] per kg. For the upcoming Chinese New Year, we expect prices will continue to increase up to 13,000 riel per kg,” he said.

According to Pov, Cambodian pig farmers have expressed concerns about the ASF outbreak in Vietnam and Thailand, as some traders smuggle meat over from these countries.

San Chanthet, president of the Cambodia Pig Supply Association, told The Post that his association members have not imported pigs from abroad in the past two or three months.

“We have already agreed to temporarily suspend the import of live pigs to support and encourage our local pig farmers,” he said.

According to Chanthet, Cambodia does not currently have the capacity to produce enough pigs for export like Thailand and Vietnam, though it does have sufficient capacity to raise and supply pigs that are safe for domestic consumers.

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