Meat producers told to shape up

Sok Chan / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
A woman sells meat in of of the local markets. KT/Fabien Mouret

The government will not consider further reductions of import quotas for live pigs, nor will it ban imports of the livestock, a high-ranking official at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) recently said, adding that companies in the meat industry should rethink their business models to stay in business.

Sen Sovann, director-general of MAFF’s general-directorate of animal health and production, told Khmer Times that meat producers and livestock raisers should not rely on government interventions to stay afloat, and should instead remodel their businesses to be more competitive vis-a-vis foreign players in the industry, including coming up with more efficient raising techniques that can cut costs.

His comments follow a public request made on Monday by the Cambodia Livestock Raisers Association to the government to slash taxes for players in the meat industry and consider banning imports to help the sector cope with fierce international competition that’s causing prices for the livestock to plummet.

“All we can do is to apply the appropriate regulations to control imports, but we cannot ban them without solid reasons,” Mr Sovann said.

“If we close or ban the trade flow without good reason, we are going against the principles that we agreed on when we joined the WTO and Asean. The other countries will complain and, at the end, we will be worse off,” he added.

The market can absorb 8,000 live pigs per day with local farmers being able to produce just 6,000 a day, according to Chet Phirum, deputy director of the Cambodia Livestock Raisers Association.

Following a request from the Ministry of Agriculture made in May, the Ministry of Interior set a quota for live pig imports, limiting their number to 1,250 specimens a day.

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