Despite a ban on their import from Vietnam amid the African swine fever (ASF) outbreak, pigs are still being brought in through Tbong Khmum province, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said.
The ministry said this following the recent crackdowns on three trucks that illegally transported pigs from Vietnam in Tbong Khmum and Kampong Cham after the ban imposed by the ministry went into effect amid reported ASF outbreak early February.
Speaking to The Post on Monday morning, The General Directorate of Animal Health and Production director-general Tan Phannara said he would meet with Tbong Khmum province governor Cheam Chansophorn to discuss strategies to curb illegal pig imports from Vietnam.
Tbong Khmum, he noted, is the only province through which anyone can transport pigs illegally by motorbikes.
“Vendors who import pigs by motorbikes still exist, but they are a small-scale operation. The authorities can get overwhelmed sometimes, but the [provincial] governor keeps working to tackle this issue,” he said.
He admitted that although a ban on pig imports from Vietnam is in place, “the execution process [in the field] is not completely perfect”.
“That’s why it is crucial to coordinate with the provincial authority to come up with alternative measures,” Phannara said, without disclosing any desired outcomes from the discussion.
Last Thursday, three trucks were caught transporting pigs illegally from Vietnam. Two vehicles were halted in Tbong Khmum province, while another was stopped in Kampong Cham province, during which the authorities also tested the pigs’ blood to determine if they carried the ASF virus.
Phannara said no other instances of ASF outbreaks were found in Cambodia besides the ones detected in Ratanakkiri’s O’Yadav and O’Chum districts earlier this month.
Tbong Khmum provincial governor Cheam Chansophorn could not be reached for comment.
Provincial Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries director Heng Piseth pointed out that small roads linking the border areas contribute to the increase of illegal pig trafficking from Vietnam.
However, he stressed that the large-scale pig shipping from Vietnam has been “completely prohibited”.
“We will try to extend the ban to eliminate the number of cases of pigs being transported across the border illegally,” Piseth said.
He and Phannara did not provide figures on the number of pigs that were illegally imported into Tbong Khmum province by motorbikes after the ban was implemented.