Cambodia is attempting to minimise the import of infected pigs from Vietnam by imposing strict restrictions on animals without clear origins.
It has urged local pig farmers to increase production and offer clean and disease-free pigs to meet consumer demand while Vietnam deals with the recent outbreak of African swine fever (ASF).
Despite the government restrictions, imports of pigs from Vietnam – with no stated origin and from unauthorised sources – have still increased.
Last Friday, a task force from the Department of Animal Health and Production under the Svay Rieng Provincial Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries stopped three trucks loaded with 89 pigs from Vietnam.
None of the pigs was infected with ASF or porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS), according to a department official whose team carried out the operation.
Sen Chan Thy told The Post on Tuesday that one truck, carrying 34 pigs, was found in Romeas Hek district, while two more trucks, together transporting 55 pigs, were apprehended in Svay Rieng town.
“The three trucks were impounded and the government specialists took samples of the pigs’ blood for analysis. The samples were sent to a laboratory in Phnom Penh to test for ASF and PRRS, but none of the pigs tested positive for the diseases,” Chan Thy said.
He said the traders were trying to import the pigs from Vietnam without a permit.
Both parties were fined in accordance with Article 113 of the Law on Animal Health and Production, with the owner of the truck in Romeas Hek paying 10 million riel ($2,500) and the other owner fined 15 million riel.
Chan Thy said the truck owners signed a contract agreeing to pay the fines and allowing licensed officers to deliver the pigs to a slaughterhouse so the meat could be distributed at the local market.
In 2012 Chan Thy’s team discovered a truck loaded with 20 pigs from Vietnam which later tested positive for PRRS. The pigs were culled, he said, while the truck driver was sent to the provincial court.
Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Veng Sakhon said on Tuesday that there were about 1.9 million pigs on local farms, and approximately 800,000 reared industrially last year. He said there were a total of 670 pig farms in the Kingdom.
But with the increasing growth of all sectors and the flow of foreign tourists, demand for pork has also increased, which requires increased pig production to meet this increasing demand.
However, due to strong economic growth and increasing numbers of tourists, demand for pork had also increased, requiring more pigs to meet the nation’s requirements.
Meanwhile, Sakhon appealed to poultry producers, slaughterhouse owners and pork traders to collaborate to “keep pork prices intact, and not take this opportunity to raise the price”.
He raised the issue at the launch of a workshop on Safeguards Against and Prevention of African Swine Fever held at the ministry, which was attended by some 500 people from the pig production sector throughout Cambodia.
Sakhon briefed the participants on the history of ASF, saying the first breakout occurred in Kenya in 1907 and had spread to other African countries since.
He said that last year the disease arrived in Europe and was then passed into China where it continued to spread to some northern and central provinces.
The latest outbreak of the disease, Sakhon said, had occurred in northern and central Vietnam. “It has seriously harmed the pork industry in Vietnam and caused so much damage to the economy,” he said.