Tourism is big business in Cambodia and visitors naturally have to eat, and pork is a popular dish on most menus. In addition, as the standard of living increases in the country more pork is eaten by the local population.
Cambodia has a pretty small pig industry, with around 200,000 sows. Small family operations – otherwise known as backyard producers are still featured but larger units are being established and developed.
Thai companies Charoen Pokphand Foods and Betagro are huge integrators (CPF operates worldwide and had a turnover of $12 billion in 2012) and with Thailand and Cambodia sharing a common border it’s hardly surprising that both these companies have now set up in Cambodia, with breeding stock, feed and management being shipped across that border to supply their Cambodian operations.
CPF has over 50,000 sows in their Cambodian units, whilst Betagro has considerably less. Chan Yutea manages the family business which has 1500 sows in two units. He complains that all the Cambodian government is concerned about is keeping pork cheap for the consumer. Pigs can be sourced cheaper in Vietnam and Thailand so these pigs are shipped live into Cambodia ending up in the wet markets.
“The Cambodian government is supporting the Thai and Vietnamese pig industries, not mine,” grumbled Chan Yutea. “Cambodia is the “rubbish bin” as who knows what diseases these pigs might bring in with them.”
Chan Yutea imports Landrace, Yorkshire, Duroc and Pietrain lines from Thailand. He has set up his own breeding pyramid based on GGPs & GPs and he prefers the Duroc as the terminal sire as he finds that breed is leaner than the Pietrain. The Landrace and Yorkshire are used to breed a 50/50 F1. The F1s are then inseminated with either Duroc or Pietrain semen hence his slaughter pigs contain either 50 per cent Duroc or 50 per cent Pietrain genes.
Feed, apart from the creep rations, is mixed on the farm and rations are formulated with the aid of an off the peg software programme. Feeds will typically be based on corn, SBM and full fat soya, meat and bone meal, broken rice, rice bran and cassava, along with a VATM supplement.
Because of the high year round temperatures and humidity mycotoxins are a big problem and so a toxin binder, MTox + sourced from Olmix, is imported from the company’s factory in Brittany, France.
Gilts are homebred as previously mentioned and Regumate is now being used for heat synchronization. A traditional farrowing system which is based on weekly farrowing’s is in place, with gilts and sows farrowing in traditional crates. Piglets are dunked in Mistral just after birth which dries the piglets off and conserves body heat. Piglets get a 2ml iron injection plus get tailed and castrated.

Ear notching with a ‘week number’ is used for identification and is used to calculate days to slaughter. Pre-weaning mortality is good at eight per cent, although night staff are not employed in the farrowing houses.
We tend to think that the climate doesn’t change much in southern Asia, but it does. China has very cold winters and cold winds blow south into Cambodia in December and the resulting drop in temperature causes an increase in pre-weaning losses, given that the buildings are designed to keep pigs cool, rather than warm. Pre- weaning losses are mainly due to overlaying by the sow and diarrhea. Piglets are given Nutrifeed “booster” creep at three to four days which unlike the other feeds is brought in. Weaning takes place at 25 days of age.
Boars are imported from Thailand and semen is collected from the on-farm stud. Because of the heat, refrigeration is needed to keep the semen at 17-18C. Sows are inseminated twice at 12 hour intervals. Some sows do not come on heat and these are treated with PG 600. Sows and gilts are housed in gestation stalls and a boar is walked round daily to check for any returns. Sows are culled after their seventh litter.
Post –weaning, feed is initially restricted to avoid digestive upsets and zinc oxide is added to the feed for the first two weeks after weaning. Chan Yutea is trying to reduce the amounts of antibiotics included in the G/F feeds and is including MFeed, a “green” growth promoter, also bought from Olmix  as an alternative to using  in –feed antibiotics. As the pigs get older pellets are replaced by meal and pigs eat from Danish type ad lib feeders. Pigs are housed in curtain sided buildings, the curtains being raised and lowered depending on the ambient temperature. The pen floors are solid concrete and any manure is swilled down by farm staff into dung channels which run the full length of the buildings. Pigs are slaughtered locally when they reach 101kg live weight.

Number born alive / litter      11.0

Pre-weaning mortality –         eight per cent

Pigs reared/ sow&gilt/ yr       22

Weaning wt                      6.8 kg

Post weaning mortality –        seven per cent

Slaughter wt                    101 kg

FCR: wean –slaughter            2.25:1

CPF is a very aggressive company and has expanded into many countries. CPF has been in Vietnam for several years and it was only natural that the company would expand into Cambodia, as Thailand, CPF’s homeland, shares a common border with Cambodia.
Betagro is a fierce competitor of CPF and not surprisingly has also set up a large operation in Cambodia. CPF and Betagro import their own breeding pigs from Thailand but of course there are many other pig units in Cambodia needing new genes. Genesus are expanding rapidly and they now have a big asset in the shape of Paul Anderson as International Sales Manager. Paul travels the world selling pigs and his contacts are now boosting sales of Genesus genes, with Cambodia being high up on Paul’s visit list!
Any pig industry has to have other support companies, feed being the major one. Kodo Feeds is a Korean company and has been producing feed for all classes of livestock for five years, with output doubling every two years. Delivery is quite complicated as many of Kodo’s customers have only around 10 sows. Consequently Kodo is looking to establish integrated operations which of course mean a guaranteed and consistent outlet for the company’s feed. Feed companies need minerals and vitamins for their formulations.  These might be sourced in –house or brought in from specialist supplement companies.

One such company is a French outfit, InVivo and the company has recently opened an office in Phnom Penh, in order to service the Cambodian market. The Director of InVivo (Cambodia) is Mr. Gaetan Morizur and he stated “Cambodia has great potential. We are in the premix business for all classes of livestock and offer a formulation service as well. It’s convenient that we can ship premixes from Vietnam via the Mekong river. We can analyse feed samples but at the moment this takes place in Vietnam.”
Pig farms need equipment as well. Labour is still cheap and plentiful in Cambodia so pigs are still fed by hand, which for sows would be via a trough. After weaning pigs get fed via ad lib feeders. One company providing these feeders is Chinese company Big Herdsman.  Incidentally, they paint their kit blue and orange, like a very large world famous equipment company, headquartered in Germany.   •
— By Norman Crabtree
The author wishes to express his sincere thanks to Phan Sovannara, General Manager, Olmix (Cambodia) for arranging his visits and acting as his interpreter.

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