Cambodian Case Study: Intergrated Pig and Fish Farming

With increasing an increasing demand for pork, pig farming in Cambodia is developing. Reporting for 5m Publishing, Stuart Lumb gives a run down of a farm near Phnom Phen in Cambodia which is farming both pigs and fish.
calendar icon 7 August 2015
clock icon 6 minute read

Most people visiting Cambodia generally have world heritage site Angkor Wat as number one on their visit list. Tourism is big business in Cambodia and visitors 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 indigenous population.

Cambodia has around 200,000 sows . Backyard production still features but larger units are being established and developed.

Thai companies CPF and Betagro are huge integrators and with Thailand and Cambodia sharing a common border it’s hardly surprising that both these companies have now become established in Cambodia, with feed and breeding stock being shipped across that border, to supply their Cambodian operations.

Not all businesses operate on this huge scale though. Backyard operators often only buy one bag of feed at a time, bought from the local general store and carried on an overloaded motor bike.

Pigs are also transported by motor bike as well. Bigger operators will have a small truck and buy feed from a wholesaler who sells feed, veterinary products and often white rice for human consumption, often stored in a large shed by the roadside.

In addition the wholesalers often act as middlemen, buying corn from local farmers and then selling it on to the feed mill.

Mr Kim Dyna and Mrs Chron Srey Ka own a farm and feed wholesaling business located close to Phnom Phen.

Mr Dyna is on the road selling feed and so his very able wife supervises the feed business and also oversees a pig unit plus a fish farm. They own 3 ha of land which is used to grow bananas.

The pig unit, which is being expanded from 250 to 300 sows is a farrow to finish operation, producing 20 pigs/ sow/ year, with the finished pigs taking 150 days to get to a slaughter weight of 100kg.

As is usual in Asia, slaughter pigs are sold through a middleman and in this case slaughtered 10km away from the farm, with pork being sold “wet” to local butchers shops.

Breeding stock are sourced from the local Hok Hieng breeding company which in turn sources their genetics from Thailand.

The farm’s owners buy in Yorkshire/ Landrace F1s and use Duroc semen to produce a 50% Duroc 25% York 25% Landrace slaughter pig.

A mill & mix plant is housed in the feed store, producing feed for the unit.

Mycotoxins are a problem in feed ingredients and so a toxin binder, MTox + , which is imported from French company Olmix, is added to all the feeds. The unit operates a 2 week batch system.

Despite the very high temperatures it’s still cost effective to use lamps at farrowing. Mistral, a sanitising product, also from Olmix, is use to dry piglets off at farrowing, reducing energy loss and resulting in faster suckling of the all important colostrums.

In addition, Mistral is also used to dry off the vulva when sows are inseminated.

Piglets get an iron injection and have their teeth clipped at 2 days of age. Creep feed is given and weaning takes place at 23-28 days of age at an average weight of 5kg.

Some piglets are sold off the unit at weaning but most are kept on the farm for finishing.

Zinc oxide is added to the feed to reduce digestive upsets and fed from weaning to 15kg liveweight.

The buildings all rely on natural ventilation for cooling. The finisher pens are not slatted, instead the floors are solid concrete, with manure being swilled off twice per day into muck channels that run down both sides of the house.

The ad lib feeders and other equipment are sourced locally and also from Thailand and these are filled manually by farm staff, who all live on the farm, a typical scenario common on many farms in Asia.

Regarding health, pigs are free from pneumonia which is a substantial bonus. Breeding stock are vaccinated against FMD , Swine Fever and PRRS.

Worms are controlled using Ivermectin (in feed and by injection), whilst only piglets receive a PCV 2 vaccination.

ThePigSite asked Mrs Cron Srey Ka where she had acquired her pig knowledge. “We don’t have any government farm advisors here in Cambodia , so have to rely on help from commercial specialists such as those employed by our breeding stock supplier, plus I have read up a lot myself.” A very resourceful lady, to be sure.

The third part of the business is the fish farm. The large fish pond is stocked with Pangasius (catfish), which are harvested when they are 2 years old and weigh 600-700 gms.

After harvesting, the catfish are shipped to Vietnam.

Broken rice, rice bran and small fish are used as fish food. These ingredients are heated up and cooked together, with the resultant material being put through a grinder which is directly above the fish.

This feeding technique is much easier and far less labour intensive than loading big bags of feed into a small boat, paddling out into the pond and labouriously emptying those bags into the water.

There’s an old saying that in business “never put all your eggs in one basket”..If your business is purely pigs or poultry then it has to perform at the highest level, to ensure that your profits exceed any losses over the years. Here we have a combination of 3 businesses so the risk is spread 3 ways. Very sound thinking.

August 2015

(The author wishes to express his sincere thanks to Phan Sovannara, General Manager, Olmix Cambodia for arranging his visit and acting as his interpreter).

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