The number of pigs being smuggled from Vietnam has jumped this month, spurring concerns that the imports will drive down prices and spread disease, pig farmers said.
“The number of pigs smuggled from Vietnam has increased from 600 pigs per day last month to just under 1,000 pigs in recent days,” said Srun Pov, deputy president of the Cambodia Pig Raiser Association. He added that many of the importers fail to buy animal transport licenses for their cargo.
“These [pigs] flow freely to Cambodia, and it seems that nobody controls these activities.”
Pork brought from Vietnam sells for 6,000 riel, or $1.50, per kilogram, Mr Pov said, undercutting sales of higher-quality Cambodian pork, for which people pay 9,000 riel per kilogram.
“If those Vietnamese pigs continue to be allowed in, our local pig raisers will stop raising pigs,” he warned.
Mr Pov also pointed to the risk of blue ear disease, or porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome, spreading to Cambodia from Vietnam.
“I am concerned that our local pigs will be affected by blue ear disease,” he said. “Vietnam already has such a disease.”
Sum Sopheak, a pig raiser in Kandal province’s Lvea Em district, said, “It’s difficult for [pig farmers] to sell our pigs nowadays.”
“If the number of pigs exports from neighboring countries keeps increasing, the local pig prices will drop,” he predicted. “It would be good for the local pig raisers if the government stops pig imports.”
The government imposed a ban on pig imports from Thailand and Vietnam in 2007 to strengthen the country’s pig farming-industry and protect against an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease. The ban was lifted seven month later, with government officials saying pork prices were too high.
Mong Reththy, president of the Mong Reththy group, whose business activities include pig farming and livestock import and export, said the government should test pigs from Vietnam to make sure they are disease-free.
“All the pigs imported at the border checkpoints must be checked for viruses,” he said.