Country Profiles

International trade

Industry officials report that frozen boneless beef is imported from Australia for western hotels and restaurants, where quality is important and local cattle do not meet quality requirements for the cuisine. However, the lack of formal data on this trade precludes quantification of volumes.

There are two types of cross-border live cattle movement in Cambodia: transit movement of cattle between Thailand and Vietnam, and export of local cattle from Cambodia to Vietnam. Traders involved in cross-border movement of cattle are supposed to obtain a movement permit from DAHP. However, most traders involved with the transit of cattle from Thailand/Myanmar to Vietnam, and in the export of local cattle will purchase a movement permit from large livestock trading companies. These trading companies will help traders to move their cattle to the desired market without interruption.

Transit of cattle from Thailand/Myanmar, through Cambodia to Vietnam:

Since 2008, cattle from Thailand/Myanmar have transited through Cambodia to Vietnam. The main entry sites for cattle moving from Thailand to Cambodia are Bantey Meanchey, Oddar Meanchy and Battambang provinces. In each of these provinces, there are several entry points along the border. The majority of cattle imported for transited to Vietnam use the Or Bey Choun and Nang Chan routes. Normally, transit through Cambodia takes about one day from the Thai border to the Vietnam border depot in the south-eastern Cambodian provinces of Kampot, Takeo, Svay Rieng and Kampong Cham (Figure 6).

Figure 6: Pathways of live cattle trade. 

figure6-camSource: Cock at el (2009)

Cambodian traders are assisted by Thai local traders to source cattle from Thailand. The Cambodia traders often pay for the animals in full before they are taken over the border. Thai villagers are usually hired to walk the cattle over the border into Cambodia. On arrival at the Cambodia side of the border, the animals are checked by provincial veterinary officials before loading into large trucks for moving to the Cambodia-Vietnam border. It often takes around 15 hours to arrive at the destination.

On the arrival of the Cambodia-Vietnam border, the cattle are moved into a depot, which is located close to the border. Vietnamese traders can come and purchase cattle from these depots. Cambodian villagers are hired to walk the cattle from the depot to the Vietnamese side of the border (three hours). The cattle are then moved to a government designated quarantine area where the animals are kept for disease control purpose.

the cattle trade into Vietnam is mostly unofficial. Cattle sold unofficially transit uninterrupted through the Vietnam border, whereas animals passing through official gates are required to undertake 14 days quarantine within Vietnam, and traders pay fees to keep the cattle at the quarantine area. In addition, the recent spread of FMD also affects the formal trade. The whole movement route is presented in Figure 7.

Figure 7: Cattle movement from Thailand transit through Cambodia to Vietnam.

figure7-camSource: adapted from Cocks et al. (2009)

In 2009, about 20 trading companies were involved in the export of up to 150,000 cattle per year into Vietnam. It is estimated that during 2010-2012, about 1,000- 1,500 head per week were imported from Thailand through Banteay Meanchey province and 500-700 head per week through Battambang province for export to Vietnam. However, the figure has dropped dramatically to about 150 head per week in Banteay Meanchey province, and about 100 head through Battambang since 2013. This equates to a dramatic decrease from 110,000 head in 2012 to about 13,000 head in 2013.
The decline in the number of cattle imported from Thailand for Vietnam markets is due to high cattle prices in Thailand and Myanmar. In addition, Vietnam has increased imports of cattle from Thailand through Laos, and there has been a rapid increase in the cattle imports into Vietnam from Australia.

Export of Cambodian cattle to Vietnam

Cambodian cattle are also exported to Vietnam. The official figure reported by the Department of Animal Health and Production that around 20,000 feeder and slaughter cattle were exported to Vietnam in 2013. According to Cocks et al. (2009), the pathways of movement of local cattle are similar to that the transit cattle. The route for cross-border movement between Cambodia and Vietnam is similar to that of the transiting cattle. The trade systems to source local cattle from villages/ communes are described in Section 4: cattle marketing and trade systems.

It is expected that in the future, the cattle industries in the region will become more specialised and commercially oriented. The Vietnam market will demand higher quality feeder cattle for feedlots. To be competitive, Cambodia will need to provide a large number of quality cattle at similar weight and specifications for entry into feedlots. It may be hard for Cambodian small-holders to produce cattle that can compete with feeder or slaughter cattle from Australia – on either “quality” or yields and processing efficiencies. Therefore, there is a need to accurately analyse and predict the impact of changes and other changes of basic conditions on industry development, and also on livelihoods of smallholders and other stakeholders involved in the cattle and beef sector in Cambodia.

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