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Shortage of pork as main source contaminated

Chhut Bunthoeun / Khmer Times Share:
Pork on sale in Phnom Penh. Prices have risen because of a shortage of the meat. KT/Tep Sony

Cambodia has currently experienced a shortage of pork because one of its main sources – Vietnam – has been hit by the deadly and highly contagious pig virus African swine fever.

As a result Vietnam has culled millions of hogs to try to eradicate the disease, leaving it with a shortage of the meat which, by coincidence plays a big role in Chinese New Year feasts, which will take place tomorrow.

Srun Pov, president of the Cambodia Livestock Raisers Association, said the available pork in Cambodia is now very expensive. The country is now importing most of its pork from Thailand at a rate of about 7,000 to 8,000 hogs per day at a market cost of $5 a kilogramme (kg). More than half of that number is also sent to Vietnam.

Tan Phannara, director general of the General Directorate of Animal Health and Production, only confirmed most pork is now imported from Thailand, without going into further details.

However, official figure from his department showed that Cambodia is importing 1,000 to 15,000  pigs a day from Thailand and about 4,000 to 5,000 pigs are eaten in the country on a daily basis.

Sok Kong, owner of a large pig farm in Kampong Speu province, said the price of pork started to rise earlier this month and is now selling wholesale at around $3 per kg for a live pig.

He said demand seems to be stable now even though Chinese New Year is coming because people have started to regard the meat as reliable and began eating it again as the outbreak slowed down in Vietnam.

Sok said his farm is selling 50 to 60 pigs a day, distributing them in his province and Phnom Penh.

As of November 2019, nearly 6 million pigs were reportedly to have been culled in Vietnam, amounting to about 337,000 tonnes of pork and accounting for nearly 9 percent of the total pig weight nationwide. The disease struck in February and spread to 63 provinces in Vietnam.

The country is continuing to import pork while restoring pig production because the outbreak has shown signs of slowing down.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in Vietnam said the country faced a pork shortage of 200,000 tonnes in the remaining months of 2019 and imported 54,000 tonnes in the first 10 months of the year.

Because of the shortage of pork, according to the ministry, the average price of live pigs had risen from $2.6 to $3.5 per kg in some parts of Vietnam.

Other countries have also been hit in Asia, including South Korea.

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