Cattle Imports Squeeze Domestic Beef Farmers

Morn Chanthorn, a farmer and a buyer from Banteay Meanchey province, has about 40 cows. Photo provided by Morn Chanthorn

PHNOM PENH – Some farmers have given up beef farming as prices for cattle have halved while the costs of feed have doubled.

Cattle are also vulnerable to diseases during the rainy season, which makes it hard to take care of them, farmers say.

My Rithy has been a beef farmer for 10 years in Bavel district of Battambang province.  He said he earned 4 million riel ($960) for an adult cow last year but the price had fallen to 2 million riel.

Rithy said he usually bought 12 kilograms of straw for feed for 2,500 riel but it has gone up to 5,000 riel.

Rithy sold some of his cows and has other people breeding more, leaving four cows for himself. This was to reduce the expenses on feed and care.      

“The price is too low, and it’s hard for a small-farm runner like me to survive,” Rithy said.

Rithy added that the domestic beef price had fallen because cows were imported from neighboring countries such as Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.  

Nevertheless, Rithy said he would consider beef farming again if the prices rose.

Morn Chanthorn, a farmer and a buyer from Banteay Meanchey province, has about 40 cows. He also complained about the price, saying the buyers picked imported cows because they were bred to a standard and were rich in meat.

With similar prices for the cows, buyers make more profit from imported cattle, he said.

Chanthorn said villagers leaving for the city was another reason. Many of them had been beef farming since COVID-19 outbreak after losing their jobs.

Now they were selling their cows at the same time before going back to the city, which also caused prices to fall, Chanthorn said.

He believed the price might go up during the harvest season, when rice farmers can afford beef with the money they earn from selling the paddy rice.

There will be no rain, no mosquitoes and no diseases for cows, but more grass and straw. This will reduce his expenses and make it easier to take care of the cows, Chanthorn said.


Originally written in Khmer for ThmeyThmey, this story was translated by Meng Seavmey for Cambodianess.

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