Minister of Commerce Pan Sorasak asked CP Cambodia – a subsidiary of the Thailand-based Charoen Pokphand Foods (CPF) – to increase the scope of its procurement of pigs from local farmers, citing corporate social responsibility.
While leading a delegation on an April 3 visit to CP’s pig slaughterhouse and food production facility in Kampot province’s Chum Kiri district, Sorasak also suggested that they improve the quality of their animal feed so their products meet international standards.
“The use of high quality, locally produced feed will lead to lower pricing, making them more competitive in both foreign and domestic markets,” he said.
The minister also recommended that they increase cooperation with the commerce departments in the target provinces to plan the procurement of agricultural inputs for animal feed, as well as to monitor and prevent the fall in prices of agricultural products.
CP representatives said investment in its operations needs to be balanced with the demand for local pork products and the quality of local animal feed including red corn, cassava, bran, broken rice and paddy rice.
Srun Pov, president of the Cambodia Livestock Raisers Association, said on April 4 that neither CP nor any other company had bought pigs from local farmers lately.
“Due to limited demand, the sales of local live pigs have been to smaller associations, who export the animals to Vietnam,” he explained.
He added that companies have not been buying pigs from local farms as they are oversupplied. In addition, pork prices have been falling for almost half a year.
“As far as I can tell, the companies cannot buy from local farmers. Their pork production is so large that it almost exceeds market demand as it is. In addition, they are competing with smuggled substandard frozen products from Thailand,” he said.
“One of the best ways for the government to support local farmers would be to educate Cambodian consumers about the dangers of low quality products. A lot of this type of meat was discarded by Thailand and should not be eaten,” he added.
Pov said he expects the price of pigs to improve around Khmer New Year. For the past six months or so, prices dropped below 10,000 riel ($2.50) per kg.
“When combined with rising animal feed prices, this had led to losses for many farmers,” he said.
According to the Department of Consumer Protection, Competition and Fraud Repression, nearly 20 tonnes of substandard meat products were confiscated and incinerated in the first three months of the year.