Ministry asks for stricter border checks to prevent ASF cases

Chea Vannak / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
A meat vendor in a local market. KT

The Ministry of Agriculture has requested relevant authorities to strengthen border checks to prevent the African swine fever (ASF) virus from entering the country.

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The ministry yesterday held a workshop to discuss ways of stopping the virus from entering the country through land crossings with neighbouring countries. The workshop was attended by more than 500 pig farmers.

No case of ASF has been reported in the country yet. However, in light of reports of outbreaks in China and Vietnam, strict measures must be put into effect at border crossings to ensure the virus never makes it to the Kingdom, said Veng Sakhon, the Minister of Agriculture.

“The outbreak of ASF in Vietnam is cause for concern among players in the local pig industry, including vendors, slaughterhouses, feed factories, and, most importantly, the consumer,” Mr Sakhon said.

“The ministry has ordered the relevant authorities to pay special attention at border crossings with Vietnam.”

Mr Sakhon said the industry is experiencing a transformation, from small family-owned businesses to larger commercial operations. He said this transformation is in line with the country’s rapid economic growth, the increase in population and the rise in tourist arrivals.

“With demand for meat on the rise, farmers need to be careful and follow all sanitary and quality requirements to protect consumers’ health,” he said.

Mr Sakhon asked slaughterhouses and vendors to abstain from increasing prices and immediately inform authorities if the virus is found in local meat.

According to Sroun Pov, the president of the Cambodia Pig Raising Association, a live pig sells for about 10,000 riel ($2.5) per kilogram.

At least 5,000 pigs are consumed every day in Cambodia. Up to 1,500 pigs are imported every day to meet local demand, Mr Pov said, citing a recent study conducted by his organisation.

In 2018, nearly 2 million pigs were raised by small, family-owned businesses while about 800,000 were raised for commercial purposes. There are 670 pig farms in the country, according to the Ministry of Agriculture.

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