Livestock Production Declined in 2010, Agriculture Ministry Says

The livestock industry continued to struggle last year, as the numbers of cows, buffaloes and pigs declined, according to a Ministry of Agricul-ture report released yesterday. It noted, however, that the poultry sector continued to grow.  

The number of cows decreased 2.6 percent in 2010 to about 3.48 million animals, the number of buffaloes fell 5 percent to about 702,000, and the number of pigs dropped 3.2 percent to about 2.06 million pigs, the ministry’s annual report noted.

“The decrease was due to diseas-es, especially foot-and-mouth [affecting cows and bovines] and blue-ear pig disease,” the report said, adding that other factors causing the de-cline were illegal pig imports and high feed prices. Pig production continued to decline, and the number of animals has now fallen 23.5 percent since 2006, according to the report.

Agriculture Minister Chan Sarun said most livestock production methods were traditional and fell short of standards in terms of animal breeding, feeding and health. “The animal raising sector…cannot follow international standards,” he said.

Poultry production, however, grew 3 percent in 2010 and 37 percent since 2006, and now numbers about 22.9 million animals, the report said, crediting new raising techniques.

Yang Saing Koma, director of the Cambodian Center for Study and Development in Agriculture, said the government should do more to prevent illegal pig imports that push down pork prices.

“The decline in pig production is due to competition from imports,” he said, adding that much of the pig production was small-scale and producers struggled with low pork prices and high feed prices.

Ly Laville, general manager of businessman Mong Reththy’s pig raising farm in Preah Sihanouk prov-ince, said illicit pig imports were a problem for the company. “We have a problem to compete because of the illegal import from Vietnam,” he said.

Chim Setha, from Kandal prov-ince’s Ksach Kandal district, said 2010 had been a devastating year as his 70 pigs fell ill and he was forced to sell them at a low price, but said the sector’s “big problem” remained illegal pig imports.

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