Row over illegal livestock trade

Ros Chanveasna / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Agriculture minister Veng Sakhon. Supplied

The Agriculture Ministry has said it can’t control illegal imports of livestock from neighbouring countries, arguing customs officials must take responsibility for the issue. 
 
The announcement came after farmers called on the ministry to halt illegal imports of animals, which they say are damaging their livelihoods. 
 
Pig farmers have been warning for months that illegal imports of live pigs from neighbouring countries risk putting them out of business. 
 
According to an Agriculture Ministry statement, officials from Camcontrol, the Commerce Ministry’s inspections unit, and customs officers should be stopping livestock getting across the border. 
 
“The ministry can’t monitor imports of pigs, chickens, ducks and other agricultural products at the border,” the statement read.
 
“The prevention of illegal or contaminated imports at the border is the duty of Camcontrol and customs departments.”
 
Sam Vitou, executive director at the Cambodian Centre for Study and Development in Agriculture, backed the ministry’s statement.
 
“However, agriculture officials should send more animal health officers to be stationed at land borders,” he said. 
 
Mr Vitou said the kingdom has mechanisms to control illegal cross-border trade in livestock, but these are not enforced consistently enough.
 
“Sometimes, the existing mechanisms of relevant ministries contradict each other,” he said. “This has a negative impact on addressing the problem.
 
“Relevant ministries should work together to solve the issue.”

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