Livestock Industry Seeks Ban on Pig Auctions

The Cambodia Livestock Raisers Association has called for the abolition of the auctioning of live pigs bound for import. Photo provided

Farmers fear import of swine fever

PHNOM PENH--The Cambodia Livestock Raisers Association has called for the abolition of the auctioning of live pigs bound for import. The industry body says the imports will seriously affect and discourage local pig farmers.

This request was made after the Ministry of Economy announced the establishment of a bidding mechanism to import live pigs.

According to a letter from the association to Aun Porn Moniroth, Minister of Economy, on Feb. 15, the prices of live pigs sold and distributed on the market between 2019 and 2020 have risen sharply due to the costs of production.

Association president Srun Pov said that in the last four months, Cambodia has not imported live pigs from neighboring countries, but the country can still supply live pigs and pork as needed, while the Ministry of Economy sees that the Ministry of Agriculture lacks a mechanism to control the price of live pigs in the market.

Therefore, the association urged the Ministry of Economy to stop the live pig auction procedure and encourage the relevant ministries and local authorities to join in preventing the illegal import of live pigs, frozen meat and processed products of animal origin.

This would prevent cross-border diseases, especially African swine flu, and maintain a stable supply of live pigs and market prices for pork. Cambodia needs about 8,000 to 9,000 live pigs every day to supply the country.

The Ministry of Economy said on Feb. 11 that the bidding mechanism for importing live pigs to supply the Cambodian market will be implemented only in case of a shortage. In principle, the government still encourages local farmers to be able to supply enough pigs at reasonable prices without imports.

The main purpose of the mechanism was to promote transparent competition in the business of importing live pigs and ensure the sustainability of pig farming, as well as to keep the prices of live pigs and meat on the market reasonable in the context of Covid-19.

At the same time, the General Department of Animal Health and Animal Production has expressed its disapproval of the mechanism, saying that live pig auctions to supply the market when domestic demand is lacking determine both quantity and price. It was a strategy that was difficult to implement because the price of live pigs was constantly changing. If there was an outbreak, the price would fluctuate drastically.

“The results obtained from the pig production cost study did not indicate the establishment of a pricing mechanism,” Porn Moniroth said. “However, the Ministry of Economy continues to push for the preparation of a charge book on the auction of live pigs to supply the Cambodian market at the border with Thailand or Vietnam.”  

Tycoon Mong Reththy, an agri-businessman and CPP senator told VOA Khmer the Minister of Agriculture is likely to want to support local pig farmers, and small, medium farms in the country are doing well. The minister Is likely also to want to prevent the spread of disease to domestic animals, especially African swine flu.

“The problem is the virus. We do not know which pig is sick and just import them without properly checking," he said.

"If we are importing from Thailand, almost 50 percent of their pigs died of uncontrollable African swine flu. Vietnam lost a lot too.

“If we are still importing, Cambodian farmers will surely suffer again because of this infectious disease."

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