The General Department of Animal Health and Production and the Cambodia Livestock Raisers Association (CLRA) on Sunday distributed 10 spraying machines and 155 litres of disinfectant to 10 slaughterhouses to combat African swine fever (ASF).
CLRA president Srun Pov told The Post on Sunday that the spraying machines, which were made by CLRA members, cost $350 each.
He said the machines were distributed to nine slaughterhouses in Phnom Penh and one in Kandal province, to prevent ASF from spreading further.
The first step, Pov said, was for the association to distribute the machines to slaughterhouses with the largest number of pigs. Other slaughterhouses in Phnom Penh may also receive spraying machines in the future.
“There are 17 or 18 registered slaughterhouses in Phnom Penh and the machines are easy to operate. Each one cost $350, including the motors, hoses and pushing trolleys,” he said.
ASF was first detected in Ratanakkiri province on March 22 and has spread to Tbong Khmum, Svay Rieng, Prey Veng and Kandal provinces. Thousands of pigs have died or had been culled.
Even though humans are not susceptible to the disease, the outbreak has made large numbers of people reluctant to eat pork and has resulted in a sharp decline in pork supply over the last month, putting pig farmers at risk of losing their livelihoods.
Pov said that before the outbreak of ASF, Cambodia needed approximately 7,000 pigs per day to supply the market. Of this number, more than 1,000 were imported from Thailand.
Following the market decline, he said, only 3,000 pigs are currently required per day.
“Before, we lacked more than 1,000 pigs, but now there is a surplus of domestic pigs – and we’re still importing them,” Pov said.
Tan Phannara, a director at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries’ General Department of Animal Health and Production, could not be reached for comment on Sunday.
But he told The Post in the middle of last month that the ministry had supplied four portable blood testing devices to the worst-hit areas to allow farmers to ascertain whether pigs are disease-free and continue to sell their livestock.
Kandal provincial Department of Agriculture director Bun Tuon Simona told The Post that ASF had spread to Sa’ang and Khsach Kandal districts early last month.
More than 1,000 pigs died or were culled, he said, but there have been no reports of sick or dead pigs in the last week.
“We are now collaborating with the General Department of Animal Health and Production to conduct a survey and declare the area free of disease because there are no more sick and dead pigs,” Tuon Simona said.
Pov said he hoped demand for pork would soon return to normal as the ministries of Health, and Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries had announced that ASF was not communicable to humans.