After the government banned pig imports last week due to outbreaks of a deadly porcine disease known as blue ear, some pork vendors and slaughterhouse owners said yesterday that live pig prices had already gone up.
San Chanthet, the president of the Cambodian Pork Supply Association, a group of local pork vendors, said that a day after Prime Minister Hun Sen banned pig imports in a Wednesday speech, the price of pigs at the nation’s largest hog supply company, CP Cambodia Co Ltd, rose about 8 percent, from around $2.05 to $2.22 per kilogram.
“It is too high,” he said. “If they increase the price, I will have to increase too. I understand about the ban due to disease…but this closure should not take too long because local pig prices will increase.”
Tanak Chhit, a company representative, denied yesterday having raised pig prices last week. “This price existed a long time ago,” he said. “We don’t increase the price.”
However, Srun Pov, deputy president of the Cambodian Pig Raisers’ Association, said that CP Cambodia, which has an approximately 20 percent market share, had merely increased the prices to what they had been before cross-border hog smuggling became rampant.
“They increased pig prices to the standard price before massive illegal Vietnamese pig imports,” he said. “Before the illegal Vietnamese pigs came to Cambodia, they could sell pigs for around 9,500 riel [about $2.37] per kilogram. Our local pig farmers can make a proper profit from this price.”
Mr Pov added that pork prices in the market are currently stable, at around $4 per kilogram for high-quality pork and $3 per kilogram for normal pork.
Phok Nhi, the owner of a slaughterhouse in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district, also said yesterday that he had seen an increase in prices this week from CP Cambodia.
“We feel very difficult because it increased too fast,” he said.
In his speech, Mr Hun Sen asked pig vendors not to raise prices, saying: “When there are not enough pigs, do not raise the prices.”
In 2007, the government imposed a ban on pig imports to strengthen the domestic pig industry and protect against a foot-and-mouth disease outbreak, but the ban was lifted seven months later, with officials saying pork prices were too high.
Businessman Mong Reththy, whose company owns two large pig farms in Preah Sihanouk province, said he did not plan to raise prices himsel, but predicted that pork prices throughout the country would rise following the ban.
“I think prices will increase over 10,000 riel [about $2.50] per kilogram, because there is not enough pig supply,” he said.