Higher levies for meat imports mooted by gov’t

Sok Chan / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Meat prices in the country have fallen due to the surge in cheaper imports from neighbouring countries. KT/Chor Sokunthea

An inter-ministerial plan is in the pipeline to look into the possibility of increasing levies on meat imports, especially on pork, as an intervention to stabilise domestic prices, said the top official in the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

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Agriculture Minister Veng Sakhon said yesterday that at his meeting with the Cambodia Livestock Raisers Association last week, local farmers were strongly encouraged to raise more animals for domestic markets.

“I gave them an assurance that the government would intervene to stabilise meat prices by looking into the possibility of imposing higher levies on all imports, especially pork from neighbouring countries,” said Mr Sakhon.

“The Ministry of Agriculture together with the Ministry of Economy and Finance, the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Commerce, will work together on a plan to see how this could be done as it requires an inter-ministerial effort,” he added.

Mr Sakon said the inter-ministerial plan was to ensure that meat prices in the country do not fall abruptly due to the surge in imports of cheaper meat from neighbouring countries.

The price of live pigs has risen this month from $1.35 per kilo to $2 per kilo but the increase varies with some areas getting $1.75 per kilo, according to Srun Pov, president of the Pig Raisers Association of Cambodia.

However, he added that for the past six months, the price of pigs had fallen which forced many smallholder pig farmers to cut output to about 60 percent.

This, Mr Pov said, created a market shortage of pigs.

Agriculture Minister Mr Sakhon pointed out that Cambodia, as a member of Asean, promoted free trade among member countries.

“Because of that, we cannot out rightly ban imports,” he said.

Mr Sakhon urged the private sector to work closely with experts in the Agriculture Ministry to study ways to bring down the costs of raising livestock.

“Most of our animal feed is imported from neighbouring countries. Why don’t we find ways to produce our own animal feed using raw materials in the country?” he said.

Tan Monivann, vice president of the Mong Reththy Group and advisor to the Cambodia Livestock Raisers Association, welcomed the government’s move.

“It is good that the ministry wants to work with the private sector to find ways to help farmers reduce their production cost so that they can compete with imports,” said Mr Monivann.

He urged all stakeholders in the livestock sector to join the Cambodia Livestock Raisers Association in order for it to be able to collect all information and data related to animal husbandry in the country.

“We cannot ask for prevention or reduction of livestock imports since we don’t have enough information on local supply and demand,” said Mr Monivann.

“At the end of the day, we want a fair price for all stakeholders – from importers to local animal raisers and consumers.”

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