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Kingdom’s pig prices up despite concerns over African swine fever

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A pig farm in Kandal province on March 27, 2016. Hong Menea

Kingdom’s pig prices up despite concerns over African swine fever

Despite real concerns that African swine fever (ASF) will spread to the Kingdom after a recent outbreak in Vietnam, local pig prices have continued to increase over the last few months, the Cambodia Livestock Raisers Association (CLRA) said on Thursday.

CLRA director Srun Poav said the Kingdom’s pig industry had suffered low prices for years.

Having just got back on its feet, it faces another threat in the form of ASF, which has broken out in neighbouring Vietnam. Worried farmers are now thinking twice whether to increase the amount of livestock they rear.

“It is really a concern for us. If ASF spreads to our country, the pig industry might not ever recover. Even though pig farmers are happy with current prices, it’s a huge threat looming over them,” he said.

Currently, the price of live pigs is stable at 10,000 riel (around $2.50) to 10,100 riel per kilogram, having increased from 8,000 riel in the past three months. It is a marked improvement for farmers compared to last year.

Vietnamese authorities have slaughtered thousands of pigs to prevent its spread, while ASF has been detected in parts of Vietnam that border Cambodia’s Ratanakkiri and Kratie provinces.

Immediate ban

The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries immediately ordered a ban on the import of pigs from Vietnam and requires careful checks on all pigs.

However, there have been several reports of pigs still being brought in from Vietnam, bypassing strict security checks and leading to concerns ASF will spread to Cambodia.

“Now our hopes depend on the Ministry of Agriculture. We hope they pay greater attention to controlling the situation in order prevent the virus coming into Cambodia."

“If our pig industry crumbles, it will not only impact pig farmers but also public meat consumption and the national economy,” Poav said.

Ly Laville, general manager of M’s Pig ACMC (Cambodia) Co Ltd, said authorities have cracked down heavily on the smuggling of pigs and pork from Vietnam since the restrictions were put in place.

“The rising price of pigs and pork is also because of the enforcement of government regulations, especially the Ministry of Agriculture, which has already cracked down on many cases of pig smuggling from Vietnam."

“However, we as pig producers are worried about expanding our production,” he said.

Ly Laville said that after three years of unprofitable prices, the value of pigs doubled during the second quarter of last year.

Chon Heng, a Kandal province pig farmer in Kien Svay district’s Kampong Svay commune who has 15 years’ experience and sells some 100 pigs a day, said he was extremely worried about the virus.

He said he constantly checks his livestock, monitoring the condition of his pigs every day.

“It is really a big concern for me. It could destroy everything in one day. I am really happy with current prices and was planning to increase the number of pigs, but now I’ve decided to postpone doing that because of the swine fever."

“Every day I keep checking the condition of my pigs and keep the farm clean,” he said.

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