The delivery of 2761 Brahman steers to the Port of Sihanoukville on the weekend has marked the commencement of a new cattle trade between Australia and Cambodia.
The Cambodian market technically opened to Australian feeder and slaughter cattle in August 2014 when animal health protocols were signed by the Governments of both countries.
However it has taken almost two years for the trade to physically commence, with one delay involving the time required for import customers to build new infrastructure and implement systems that satisfy the requirements of the Australian Government’s Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS).
Exporter Frontier International Northern said the delivery of feeder and slaughter weight cattle on the weekend followed a 12-month-long process of technical support, education and training.
The cattle for the trade-opening order were sourced from the Northern Territory and Northern Queensland and were shipped from the Port of Darwin last week on the Greyman Express.
The shipment comprised a combination of heavy slaughter-weight cattle and younger feeder weight cattle, which will be fed for up to 100 days on rations of locally grown corn, grass and cassava.
They are now being delivered to a newly constructed feedlot and abattoir, built to western specifications and operated with Australian staff and management, the exporter said.
The customer, SLN Meat Supplies, has told local media its new feedlot and abattoir in Preah Sihanouk province cost $30 million to construct.
The cattle will be fed and processed to produce beef for domestic consumption within Cambodia and also for export to other countries within the ASEAN region, such as China, Thailand, Vietnam and Japan, the company said.
SLN Meat Supplies managing director Hor Sim Leang said that while imported cattle were more expensive than locally reared cattle, the meat would be 40 percent cheaper than imported frozen beef.
“Beef slaughtered in Cambodia will be much cheaper and fresher (than imported meat), so middle-class and poor people will be able to afford it,” Mr. Sim Leang said, in comments reported by the Cambodia Daily.
He said the meat will be hygienically stored and transported in refrigerated trucks and distributed nationwide at supermarkets, restaurants and public markets.
A second delivery of nearly 2000 cattle is expected to follow in mid-July. He said the company plans to take up to four deliveries per month in future.