cellcard cellcard

Small Pig Farmers Edged Out

Sok Chan / Khmer Times Share:
Pigs for sale in a Phnom Penh market. Many small pig farmers are finding it difficult to compete with larger farms, breeding better and cheaper hogs. Reuters/Chor Sokunthea

Cambodia’s small family-run pig farming businesses seem to be roughing it out in an unpredictable market with fluctuating pork prices while facing stiff competition from the illegal flood of cheap imported live pigs from neighboring countries. To add salt to their wounds, the high price of animal feed is also threatening to run them out of business.
 
“Families raising pigs are finding it difficult to make ends meet and soon could be forced out of the market if pork prices continue to drop and cheap pigs from neighboring countries keep coming into the country illegally,” said Ouk Savin, deputy director of the department of animal health and production at the Ministry of Agriculture.
 
Speaking yesterday at a livelihoods workshop for village animal health workers, Ms. Savin said many small family-run pig farming businesses could be edged out of business by big commercial pig farms that are oversupplying the market with pork, causing prices to fall sharply.
 
On top of this, she said, these commercial farms were also selling cheap live pigs that were not bred in Cambodia and imported from neighboring Vietnam and Thailand.
 
Current market prices for imported live pigs are between $1.75 and $1.80 per kilogram, while Cambodian pigs are at least $2 a kilo.
 
“Cambodia cannot ban imported pigs from neighboring countries. But we cannot allow big farms to illegally get these pigs from across the border without paying taxes,” said Ms. Savin.
 
“We want to get rid of live pig imports but we can’t because that will create a short-supply of pork in the country,” she pointed out.
 
On the other hand, Ms. Savin said the ministry did not have enough animal health officers to be stationed at all the land borders between Vietnam and Thailand to prevent the illegal entry of imported live pigs.
 
Tim Vuthy, president of the Pig Raisers Association in Kampong Cham province, told Khmer Times that families running pig farms are also finding it difficult to afford animal feed, which manufacturers now are only keen to sell to large farms.
 
“If these families raise pigs using traditional methods, they cannot compete in the market. So they try to feed their animals with commercial animal feed to make them grow faster for slaughter. But they find it difficult to buy commercial animal feed because it’s expensive, and soon they are forced out of business,” said Mr. Vuthy.
 
Mr. Vuthy said his association has seen its members dwindle from 40 to 15.
 
“They have all been forced to give up pig farming because they just can’t compete with the big commercial farms,” he added.
 
Min Sophoun, country director of Agronomes Veterinaires et Sans Frontieres ‒ a French NGO that supports small farmers ‒ said large pig farms had the technical expertise to produce larger hogs for the market.
 
“Family-run pig farms do not have this technical capability and so their animals are not much in demand,” said Mr. Sophoun.
 
“Large farms breed pigs that are ready for slaughter within three to four months, whereas pigs bred and fed the traditional way by families take a much longer time. So, how can the small family-run farms compete? ” he asked.
 
According to the Ministry of Agriculture’s figures, 417,775 pigs were raised commercially in 2015 compared to 374,894 commercially bred pigs in 2014. In 2015, there were 500 large pig farms in the country compared to 385 farms in 2014.

Previous Article

BRIEFS

Next Article

Anti-Money Laundering Plan