03 - 05 December 2020, PHNOM PENH

Cambodia encourages investment in private commercial animal farms to increase meat production

As meat consumption in Cambodia continues to rise every year, commercialisation of livestock production is a must to respond to market demands, senior officials at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said.

Srun Sokhom, the deputy director-general of the ministry’s General Directorate of Agriculture, told a press conference in Phnom Penh on Monday that the Kingdom consumed 290,000 tonnes of meat last year while only 240,000 tonnes was produced locally.

“We plan to produce 335,000 tonnes of meat by 2030 to fill the shortage and curb imports,” said Sokhom.

He said chicken and ducks account for 20 per cent of meat production in the Kingdom, cattle 27 per cent and pigs 57 per cent.

Ministry spokesman Srey Vuthy said total livestock production yielded more than 45 million head last year, up 3.47 per cent compared to 2018.

The figure comprises 2.77 million head of cattle, 2.18 million head of pigs, and 40.39 million head of chicken and ducks.

“I saw a trend – smallholders were raising fewer cows and water buffaloes while commercial livestock output rose 22 per cent last year.

“Our farmers just don’t use cow or water buffaloes in their farming anymore.

“Local meat supply was insufficient. We need imports to fill the shortage,” said Vuthy, adding that Cambodians consumed 81,000 tonnes of beef and water buffalo meat last year.

He said the ministry plans to boost livestock production by three per cent per annum – from 240,000 tonnes last year to 270,000 tonnes in 2023 – and increase the proportion of commercial livestock farms to smallholder farms to 30 per cent by 2023.

“We encourage the private sector to invest in commercial animal farms as it will help grow the industry,” he said.

The average Cambodian eats 17.6kg of meat per year – including 5kg of beef, 9.29kg of pork, 3.3kg of poultry and 0.01kg miscellaneous meats, UN Food and Agriculture Organisation data shows.

Vuthy said “luxury” meat imports to Cambodia mostly come from Australia, South Korea and the US, whereas “normal” meat imports come from neighbouring countries.

However, the Kingdom also exported animals for meat to foreign markets – including 6,786 head of cattle, 5,505 pigs and 10,472 macaques in 2018, ministry data shows.

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) have provided the government with $122 million for a rural development project, a press release issued on Monday said.

According to IFAD, the five-year project, which runs from 2020 to 2025, was officially launched on Monday and aims to boost incomes and food security for 200,000 families in the Kingdom.

The Kingdom exported around 100,000 head of cows and buffaloes to neighbouring countries last year, ministry data shows.

Source: Phnompenh Post