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Bovine use in farm work falls

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The use of cattle and water buffaloes in ploughing and other draught purposes decreased from 2.4 per cent in 2018 to 1.16 per cent in 2019 and dipped below the one-per-cent mark in 2020. Heng Chivoan

Bovine use in farm work falls

The increasing adoption of machinery in Cambodia drove down the use of bovines as draught power in the agricultural sector to below one per cent last year, a trend a senior official at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries believes will extend into the foreseeable future.

Statistics from the ministry reveal that the use of bovines – cattle and water buffalo – in agricultural production has declined each year.

Bovine use in ploughing and other draught purposes decreased from 2.4 per cent in 2018 to 1.16 per cent in 2019 and dipped below the one-per-cent mark in 2020.

According to the data, the Kingdom logged 650,000 head of bovine livestock used in draught power last year, or 9.6 per cent lower than in 2019.

The total number of bovines nationwide tallied 3.27 million head last year – 2.85 million cattle and 420,000 water buffaloes – most of which were raised for meat.

Tan Phannara, director-general of the ministry’s General Directorate of Animal Health and Production, told The Post on March 22 that mechanised farming is increasingly practiced around the globe and is fuelled by economic growth.

“The use of bovines in agriculture in Cambodia is less than one per cent. Very few farming households still use them on their farmlands,” he said.

However, he noted that the number of bovines raised nationwide is climbing each year, but at a pace well short of pigs and chickens given how long it takes for the hulking animals to be ready for the slaughterhouse.

Ngorn Saing, CEO of RMA (Cambodia) Plc, the exclusive local distributor of John Deere tractors, said that while imports of the tractors remained flat last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the first quarter of 2021 reflected a steady uptick.

Tractor use in agriculture will continue to rise, with even two-wheel tractors falling out of favour for their more time-saving, state-of-the-art counterparts, he said.

“Although the first quarter is not over, we know that imports of RMA Cambodia’s John Deere tractors will grow by about 30 per cent compared to the first quarter of 2020,” Saing said.

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