Officials hope the breeders will help ease Cambodia's reliance on pork imports and provide greater sustainability for local farmers and traders.
CPP senator and business tycoon Mong Reththy speaks to reporters at the Swine Business Forum in Phnom Penh on Wednesday.
A PRIVATE company is set to import pigs from a breeder in Yorkshire, England, in a move that aims to improve agricultural production in Cambodia and satisfy increasing demand among consumers.
Mong Reththy, a Cambodian People's Party senator and co-chair of the Agricultural and Agro-Industry Working Group, said he will spend US$5 million to purchase and import the Yorkshire breeders.
"The only solution for meeting local demand for pork in the future is to import genuine breeders and distribute them to local pig raisers," said Mong Reththy, who heads the agribusiness company Mong Reththy Group.
The company is funding the purchase, Mong Reththy told a meeting of the Swine Business Forum on Wednesday.
"We will import 600 male and female breeders starting from December this year to February 2009," he said.
He added the breeding program would only be successful with the cooperation of local pig farmers.
The Swine Business Forum is sponsored by the Cambodia Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) project, a joint effort between the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy and USAID that works with pig raisers to improve cooperation, production methods and health standards.
WE WANT [PEOPLE] TO SEE THAT PIGS ARE A WORTHWHILE AND
Chris Hundley, chief of party for Cambodia MSME, said the project's educational efforts have produced dramatic results.
"The pig mortality rate used to be about 50 percent prior to taking them to markets," he told the Post Wednesday.
"Farmers lacked the necessary technical skills. They did not know what medicines to use or how to take care of their stocks."
The current mortality rate is below 10 percent, he said.
Kao Phal, director of the Animal Health and Production Department of the Ministry of Agriculture, welcomed the announcement of the breeding program and said it was an important step towards greater sustainability.
"It will help us better develop the livestock sector and reduce our need for imports from other countries," Kao Phal told the Post.
"Cambodia currently needs about 7,000 pigs per day for domestic consumption, and Phnom Penh alone needs 1,600 per day," he said.
Kao Phal said Cambodia currently imports about 800 pigs each day from Thailand.
"We are cooperating with the private sector and USAID to find the best solution for a sustainable pork supply in Cambodia," he said.
"We want participants in the swine value chain to see that pigs are a worthwhile and profitable enterprise," said Reed Aeschliman, director of general development for USAID.