The Ministry of Agriculture has said it will allow private sector pig raisers to monitor and prevent illegal imports of swine.
The decision was made yesterday during a meeting between pig industry players, led by Mong Reththy, co-chairman of agriculture at the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce.
The move is intended to address concerns that imports are exceeding the 1,250 live pigs per day limit set by the Agriculture Ministry.
The industry is also concerned that many are being brought in without paying tax.
Agriculture Minister Veng Sakhon said the ministry welcomes information provided by private sector monitors and will inspect companies who allegedly import a surplus of pigs or animals that are sick.
“We welcome participation from the private sector. If they send us reports about illegal imports, we will order relevant officials to inspect,” Mr Sakhon said.
“We have a limited number of officials to work on this, so information from the private sector is important for the ministry to intervene in a timely manner.”
Mr Sakhon added that the ministry will work with other government departments to strengthen checks of live pigs and animal products at border gates, in order to control imports and stop the spread of disease in livestock.
Pig farmers said unfair imports are threatening to put them out of business.
“The influx of pigs from Vietnam and Thailand has caused the price of pork to fall sharply to about $1.25 per kg, while the cost base of farmers is at an average of $1.88 per kg. This is a heavy loss to them and if it continues many of them could be forced into bankruptcy,” Mr Reththy said earlier.
According to the Cambodia Pig Raising Association in Kandal province, about 8,000 pigs are needed to supply the local market every day. About 7,000 pigs are currently supplied by local farmers, while about 1,000 are imported from neighbouring countries.
Ly Laville, general manager of M’S Pig ACMC (Cambodia), said illegal imports are dragging down the price of local livestock.
“Some pig traders import pigs without paying tax, so they can sell out at low price,” Mr Laville said, “Local farms will close if there is no intervention.”
Srun Pov, president of the Cambodia Pig Raising Association, backed the idea of private sector monitoring; saying pigs must not be imported without certificates of origin, to be fair to local and foreign traders.
“If we can control those traders who are illegally importing pigs, local farmers will increase their capacity to supply the market,” Mr Pov said.
“We could supply the entire market from within the country in a relatively short time, so there would be no need to import from outside.”
As part of a crackdown on illegal pig imports, the ministry will inspect slaughter houses to see if animals have the proper certificates, particularly in border areas.
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