Following the Ministry of Agriculture’s announcement Friday that avian influenza has arrived in Cambodia, some Phnom Penh market authorities on Sunday said they are urging vendors to comply with a temporary municipal ban on poultry trade.
“We have to stop the vendors from selling all types of [poultry] today,” said Prak Kadul, the deputy chief of Phsar Thmei in charge of order and hygiene. Doing so will require shutting down more than 20 stalls, Prak Kadul said.
“We have to confiscate if we find someone selling it,” he said.
Nam Praney, deputy chief of Phsar Kandal, said that his market had not received any official notice from the Agriculture Ministry or City Hall to stop selling poultry but would take action today.
A statement from Agriculture Minister Chan Sarun was read on state television Friday night, advising people how to avoid the disease. It did not call for a ban on poultry products, though the municipality has told the capital’s market chiefs that it is prohibiting the buying and selling of poultry products, a municipal official said.
While Prak Kadul said Phsar Thmei will prohibit all trade in poultry and eggs, Nam Praney said Phsar Kandal will still allow the sale of cooked dishes that include poultry as an ingredient.
Some vendors scoffed at measures to stop poultry trade.
“If there is a bird flu, why don’t I see anyone dying?” asked one woman, who asked not to be named.
“I heard the bird flu was killing people in Vietnam, but not my roasted duck,” said Lang Sy Leang, 53, who peddles ducks at Phsar O’Russei.
Keang Lak, chief of Phsar O’Russei, said he would not begin rousting poultry vendors until he received an official order to do so.
Pheang Chhun Ly, head of the Veterinary and Animal Production Office for Phnom Penh Municipality, said officials are inspecting poultry farms in the capital’s districts to decide if their populations are infected. He said farms should receive their results in the coming days. Approved farms will then be allowed to return to business.
“We will confiscate bird products that are sold at the market without getting approval from the veterinary office,” Pheang Chhun Ly said. He said market chiefs were told of the embargo at a City Hall meeting several days ago.